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Esmeralda Vidovich

May 11, 2015


History 301
Professor Dr. Namala
The DREAMers
Thousands of undocumented students graduate from high schools across the United
States and have limited choices on what they will do after. Many of these students dream to
continue pursuing higher education, join the military or get employed, however, due to their legal
status their dreams and hopes are put aside because they have limited opportunities and are afraid
of being deported. According to the Immigration Policy Center, there has been growing
bipartisan consensus that Congress should provide legal immigration status for young adults who
came to the country as children and graduated from American high schools. Being
undocumented and a student at the same time affects everyday life because many who do not
qualify for any proposal cannot obtain any of the opportunities. The sad reality is that many of
them came to the United States when they were young and some do not know their native
language. Being deported causes frustration especially for those who are not used to the lifestyle
outside of the United Stated or who have their loved ones here.
In 2001, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) was
introduced as a legislative proposal that allows undocumented students receive a green card if
and only they complete two years of college or join the military. During 2012, it was evident that
the support towards the DREAM Act was decreasing; however, different proposals have been
offered to help the undocumented but of course are more limited as far as who qualifies for them.

The DREAM Act will not only give students hope but it will give them the opportunity to change
and become better people in society. Documented and undocumented people who are affected by
the DREAM Act should make a voice for themselves in order to make issues of immigration and
civil and human rights heard. In addition, the DREAM Act federally or state level will
significantly increase tax revenue because the students will earn much more money in their
lifetime. Although many argue the DREAM Act is primarily for Latinos, it is true to a certain
extend since California is focused in the Latino community, yet the DREAM Act federally
includes other ethnicities too.
The DREAM Act is essentially focused federally or by state. Understanding the
immigration law is complicated. Many people talk about the immigration reform, but more or
less is based on commentary rather than whats really going on. The NAFSA Association clears
any doubt with greater detail on the DREAM Act which is known as an open door to children
born outside of the United States who were brought into the country illegally when they were
young and been raised and gone to schools throughout America.
The DREAM Act is definitely necessary. Thousands of students throughout the United
States who are undocumented graduate from our schools and cannot continue school like the rest
of their classmates or receive legal status. The DREAM Act will give a sense of hope to for
undocumented students by providing them with legal immigration status for long-term U.S.
resident who came to the United States illegal as children. In fact, many of these students were
never given the option to come to the U.S because the decision was made by their parents or
guardian. Giving this great opportunity to these students will benefit them to take the right step
to obtain legal immigration status.

Not every undocumented student can be eligible to apply for the DREAM Act. The
DREAM Act only allows student who came to the United Stated before they turned sixteen and
have attended schools in the U.S to receive conditional legal permanent residency. According to
NAFSA, they would be able to apply for permanent green cards after six years, if they attend a
U.S. higher education institution or enter military service, in addition to meeting other strict
criteria. Certain states have the power to make individual decisions on their DREAM Act and
make work study and loans available to the DREAMers.
NAFSA argues that the U.S House and the Senates version of the bill have different
names but both refer to the DREAM Act. The word, DREAM is the acronym for the States
version of the bill which stands for The Development Relief, and Education for Alien Minor Act
of 2009. In the other hand, the house version of the bill is names The American Dream Act.
Many people question if the DREAM Act is an amnesty, when in fact it is not. The DREAM Act
will only let student who meet the requirements obtain a conditional permanent residenct status
that is valid for six years. After the six years pass, the DREAMers will have to go through
another application process to get approved by meeting all the requirements again.
There is a difference between Nonimmigrant and Conditional Permanent Resident
Status and Permanent Resident Status. Immigrants or migrants who are authorized to enter the
United States have legal status. According to the Immigration Policy, immigration law divides
individuals into immigrants and nonimmigrants. For example, nonimmigrants are most
common to be tourist, students, journalists, or other individuals who come to the United States
with visas. An immigrant, permanent resident, or green card hold is someone who is trying to
stay in the United States permanently. Therefore, the DREAMers are first granted a conditional
residency which is only for two years, after two years they have to show prove they have been in

school and pass a background check in order to obtain a permanent residency. If they do not
show prove they can lose their legal status and be deported.
The requirements for the DREAM Act to receive conditional residency status are
specific. Based on NAFSA, the requirements are that the undocumented students, entry to the
United States [was] before the age of sixteen, [have] continuous presence in the United States for
at least five years, good moral character, and want to continue school and have graduated from
a U.S high school or received a GED. In addition, the DREAMers will be able to get driver
licenses, travel outside the United States, and get employed. Every student can apply for their
drivers licenses, travel outside the U.S with authorization and legally work and do taxes.
The DREAM Act with ensure students to attend college and achieve better jobs. The
DREAMers receiving better jobs will help the United States as a whole because it can financial
make a large impact, and will place the U.S in a better position to compete in the global
economy. According to the American Progress, they find that the passage of the DREAM Act
would add $329 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.4 million new jobs by 2030,
demonstrating the potential of the proposed law to boost economic growth and improve our
nations fiscal health. This fact is more than evident that the DREAMers will not take
advantage of their opportunity but also help the countrys economy.
Connecting with real life experiences from DREAMers always help U.S students connect
with their daily struggles. A DREAMer named, Lizbeth Amairani Lopez came to the U.S at the
age of six with her younger sibling and parents seeking better job opportunities. A major impact
in her life is how her family continues to live paycheck to paycheck. As she says, her family is
limited on sources and is considered the lowest type of class in America because they do not own
a home or have good transportation. Lizbeth says, we are limited on out needs. Since she is

aware of what her family struggles, she knows that going to school will eventually help them out
of this reality. Yet, her battle towards receiving higher education in the United States has brought
her intimidation and isolation. She attends Rio Hondo Community College but can barely afford
to pay for the expenses and even though she received the Bog Waiver it is not enough. Not being
able to receive full financial aid narrows her pathways to her dreams. Lizbeth ended her email
interview with a though provoking statement that reads, now I just wonder if we are called
DREAMERS because thats all we will be allowed to do.
Another DREAMer interviewed was Noe Maldonado. Most people think that
undocumented people come to the United States for better opportunities which is true to some
cases like the one for Lizbeth. However, in Noes case he came to the United States at the age of
thirteen with his mother to reunite with his older siblings. Noes family was in good financial
standing and had no need to come over here; he was even enrolled in a private school. He says he
considers himself a DREAMer because he came to the United States before he turned sixteen
and ever since he got here he pushed himself to learn the language and managed to receive good
grades in middle and high school. A positive impact he has experience being a student in the
United States was when he received his High school diploma because it was a way he saw all his
stuggles and obstacles being recognized. He mentioned that he continues to attend school and is
enrolled at Cerritos Community College.
There has been a difference from when the DREAM Act started till today. At the
beginning, the DREAM Act was based on community service, obtaining conditional residency,
and was only for students who completed two years of community college. Now, they have
included military service, continued with the idea of conditional residency, and is only for

undocumented students who complete two years of community college or military service and
can convert to permanent resident which can lead to being able to get full citizenship.
There have also been other amazing proposals that are not directly for the DREAMers but
also help them as immigrants. According to the DMV, Governor Brown signed AB 60 into law
in 2013, directing the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to issue an original drivers license
to any California resident who is eligible for a drivers license, regardless of immigration status.
In addition, Representative David Rivera was able to pass the ARMs Act (Adjusted Residency
for Military Service) and five months later the STARS Act (Studying towards Adjusted
Residency Status Act). The ARMS and STARS proposals focus on a smaller group of
individuals. According to the Immigration Policy, the ARMS legislation, for instance, permits
applicants under the age of 30 to apply for conditional nonimmigrant status, provided that they
enroll in military service within nine months of receiving that status. The nonmiigrant status is
only for five years and can be renewed for another five years if the immigrant completed their
military service for two or four years. In the other hand, the STARS proposal limits eligibility to
individuals who are 19 or younger at the time they apply (or 21 if under an order of voluntary
departure received before the age of 19). This status is only good for five years and can get
renewed if the applicant graduates from a four year college or university. After three years from
their five year extension, the applicant can obtain a permanent resident. Undocumented students
can receive temporary nonimmigrant status while going to college or the military. These
proposals are more narrow compare to the DREAM Act but also benefit some.
In addition, Mexican Regional songs have also been influenced by the fear immigrants
face of being deported just like DREAMers. For example, the song El Mojado by Ricardo
Arjona is an old song that was written way before the Dreamers began, but still has the idea of

the daily struggles of an immigrant. The difference between the Dreamers and immigrants is that
these people are students. However, they both want to gain opportunities and become better
people and participate in the society. An interesting line from the song says, el suplicio de un
papel lo ha convertido en fugitivo y no es de aqu porque su nombre no aparece en los archivos
ni es de all porque se fue. This line is basically saying that the torture of wanting papers has
made immigrants a fugitive, and these people are stuck in between because they are not legal in
the United States and no longer consider themselves from Mexico because they left their country.
This line ties into the Dreamers because this is exactly how most of them feel. They are in
constant fear of being deported and do not feel like Mexico or their native home is where they
belong anymore.
Passing the DREAM act enforces important benefits not only to the undocumented
students but to the United Stated. Young people who were brought to the United States at a
young age should not be penalized for their lack of immigration status. Majority of these students
have been raised and educated here, and are American in every sense of the word and deserve
permanent status. Most of these students come from a humble home where one or both of their
parents work hard to maintain a steady living. For many, the United States is their home. The
DREAM Act may not be perfect or the way out of the DREAMers struggles but it would create a
clear path for legal residency and access to higher education for undocumented students who
have grown up in the United States and have attended our schools. In order to make this law a
reality, we need to continue ongoing advocacy to let our voices heard. Some ways to stay on top
of things is to contact out Senators and Representatives to urge them to support the DREAM Act
so it can become a law. Indeed, DREAMers should feel supported and at home in the United
States.

Work Cited
"A Comparison of the DREAM Act and Other Proposals for Undocumented Youth." A
Comparison of the DREAM Act and Other Proposals for Undocumented Youth. N.p., n.d. Web.
11 May 2015.
"Bill AB60 - Drive California." Drive California. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2015.
"Dreamer Experience." E-mail interview for Lizbeth Amairani Lopez.
"Dreamer Experience." E-mail interview for Noe Maldonado
Heathers. "NAFSA Association of International Educators." Understanding the DREAM
Act (n.d.): n. pag. Web. 11 May 2015.
"MUSICA.COM R Ricardo Arjona Mojado." Letra De Mojado De Ricardo Arjona. N.p.,
n.d. Web.
"The Economic Benefits of Passing the DREAM Act." Name. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May
2015.