The DREAM generation
President Barack Obama bypassed Congress and implemented a new immigration policy Friday that will halt deportation of young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
Individuals under the age of 30 who arrived to the U.S. before the age of 16 would be eligible for such immunity, granted that they fall within certain eligibility requirements, which mirror the requirements of The DREAM Act.
Many believe that by bypassing Congress, the president has shown disregard for the way our government works and that the president is looking to grant automatic amnesty to illegal immigrants.
I believe, however, that our president is giving a generation of children the right to live their dreams — the foundation that America is built on.
The 1.5 generation. A silent generation, a hidden generation, the generation that speaks English fluently and embraces every aspect of the culture, saluting the flag, celebrating the 4th of July, playing with other American children and identifying themselves as American.
Sadly, it isn’t until between the ages of 16 to 18 — when they want to learn to drive or graduate high school — that these children ultimately learn the truth: That their dreams are no longer achievable because of their illegal status.
The 1.5 generation is one that was brought to the U.S. illegally at a very young age with no choice in the decision.
Yet in our nation they are punished for something they did not ask for.
Though many might see the policy only as a short-term remedy for illegal immigration, it is a start that will provide the 1.5 generation the opportunity to follow a strict, structured pathway toward legal status, all while bettering American society.
Children will have the opportunity to attend higher education or to serve our country by joining the military, in turn improving our country as a whole; it’s better than dropping out of school or finding opportunities in criminal activity.
As a nation, we are quick to stand up and defend the children who face struggles in their everyday lives. Are we going to stand up and fight for these children the way we do for other oppressed children across the nation and world, or are we going to turn the other cheek and let these children fall behind like so many others have?
It’s time for these children to believe and follow their hopes and dreams, in the only way they know how, in the only place they truly know as home: America.
Graduate student, School of Social Work