“Over the past 14 years, I’ve graduated from high school and college and built a career as a journalist, interviewing some of the most famous people in the country. On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American dream. But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out. It means rarely trusting people, even those closest to me, with who I really am. It means keeping my family photos in a shoebox rather than displaying them on shelves in my home, so friends don’t ask about them. It means reluctantly, even painfully, doing things I know are wrong and unlawful. And it has meant relying on a sort of 21st-century underground railroad of supporters, people who took an interest in my future and took risks for me.”-Jose Antonio Vargas
Every day, many young undocumented immigrants like Jose Antonio Vargas are being deported from America. Many of these people are children who have been brought to America by their parents. They grew up attending American schools, learning English, and identifying with the American culture. However, they live in constant fear of deportation and feel they have to hide who they are in order to be accepted by other Americans. Most of these students struggle with pursuing an education after high school, as they are not permitted to receive financial aid and are not offered in-state tuition rates of colleges, making college extremely difficult to afford.
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act proposes a solution to this problem, as it provides temporary relief for specific illegal immigrants. The act states that the qualified “DREAMers” would be granted conditional legal status for six years in which they can complete their studies or servitude and work legally within the United States. This Act would also allow alien students to pay in-state tuition for college. In my white paper, I discuss the economic costs and benefits for passing the DREAM Act and argue that United States Congress should pass this act.