Letter to the editor

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.

Andrea Arroyo

Graduate student, School of Social Work

2 replies
  1. Trojan
    Trojan says:

    Well-written, concise, opinion. All in America deserve dignity and the right to pursue their dreams.

  2. Benjamin Roberts
    Benjamin Roberts says:

    The author’s viewpoint is sincere, but regrettably misguided and inaccurate. To begin with, has anyone ever asked how the government will confirm exactly when these young people entered the country illegally? Doesn’t the very nature of “illegal” immigration suggest that no official record of their entrance was ever recorded? I also firmly disagree with the premise behind this new policy, and the Dream Act itself. What is the relevance of their illegal status being “no fault of their own”? For example, if my father were to steal a bicycle for me for my 10th birthday… do the authorities not have a right to confiscate it as stolen property? Does anyone think the authorities have no right to take it from me because I didn’t actually steal it myself? And if I cry and moan at the loss of my bike, would that not be the fault of my father, not the authorities?

    The author also suggests that this is not a “short-term remedy” but rather a “start that will provide…opportunity”. This is simply not true. In fact, because this new policy is not codified in law through congress, and provides only for a renewable 2 year permit, it is not only short-term, but it also leaves many of these young people in a very untenable and unstable situation. The fact is that they remain here illegally, and are still not citizens.

    Finally, the author summarily describes these young people as a “silent and hidden 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…” Really? Do we know this to be true of all the eligible illegals under the President’s new policy? I haven’t read anywhere that these were among the qualifications required under this policy. If someone under this policy doesn’t speak English fluently, will they be denied a temporary work permit? Are they required to embrace every aspect of the culture and salute the flag? And I certainly wouldn’t describe this generation as either “silent” or “hidden” as it seems I’ve been hearing about marches and sit-ins to support the Dream Act for years.

    I think the author repeats much of the same rhetoric and faulty theories I always hear discussed on this topic. It’s a terrible shame. These policies only serve to undermine the true sacrifices that so many have made in coming to this country legally. They leave young people and families in a state of confusion and unsustainability. It rewards bad behaviour and suggests that those who can circumvent the law well enough or long enough, will eventually be granted immunity. As a first generation immigrant myself, who legally came to this country with my parents at a very young age and has since spent well over $2,000 in fees and charges applying for my US citizenship… My one question for the President would be: Do I get a refund?

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