Opposition to the DREAM Act Is a Racist “F-You” to the American Dream
One of the bills before Congress is called the DREAM Act (the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act). Without going through every detail of the DREAM Act in detail, the basic concept of the bill is to give people who came to the United States illegally as minors a chance to gain a right to permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship. The DREAM Act doesn’t simply say, “Gee, if you came here illegally as a kid, you get amnesty.” Nope. The DREAM Act requires the person to have arrived in the US as a minor, to have lived in the US for at least 5 consecutive years, to have graduated from high school (or obtained a GED), to be of “good moral character” (i.e., if you have a criminal record, you’re not eligible), and to either attend college (for at least two years) or serve in the US military. And once the person is granted permanent residency (which they can still lose like any other legal immigrant), they would have only limited rights to sponsor immediate family members to become legal residents.
But many on the right continue to oppose the DREAM Act calling it an “amnesty” (not to mention lying about what it would do, such as suggesting that it would automatically grant citizenship, would automatically grant citizenship to the person’s extended family, or that the person would automatically receive college scholarships).
Consider this: When these children entered the United States they were … children. Yes, their parents broke the law. But ask yourself two questions. First, do we want to punish children for the crimes of the parents? And, perhaps more importantly, do we want to say that the American Dream was a legitimate dream for our grandparents but not for these children? Remember that these kids have been raised in America; for many, ours is the only country that they know and English is their first language. Yet some would send them “home”, on the basis of a “crime” committed by their parents who in many cases sought nothing more than a chance for their children to have a better life. And yet some want to punish that. Try to imagine having spent your entire life in the United States other than, perhaps, your toddler years, and then being told that you have to return to El Salvador or Guatemala or Belize, despite having no contact with that country and perhaps not even speaking the language as your first language.
To me, opposition to the DREAM Act is thinly disguised racism. It’s not about law and order and it’s not about money; it’s about keeping a bunch of largely Hispanic kids from having a chance. Maybe it is a form of amnesty for these kids, but what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with rewarding kids who have worked hard to graduate high school, have managed to stay out of trouble with the law, have decided to go to college or serve in the military, and have a “good moral character”? Shouldn’t we be rewarding those kids? And if they weren’t here illegally, but wanted to come to the United States, aren’t they the kids that we’d want to be here? So why the opposition to the DREAM Act? Why the opposition to giving kids who deserve it a chance to become valuable contributors to our country? Might it have anything to do with the fact that many of them don’t have white skin? Might it have anything to do with the fact that Caucasians will soon no longer be the majority? Might it be just another manifestation of the racism that has led so many to view President Obama as illegitimate?
Like I said: Opposition to the DREAM Act is thinly disguised racism. It’s a great big “fuck you” from those who have been allowed to live the American Dream to children who want to live the American Dream. And its wrong.
Call your Senators and Representative and tell them to support the DREAM Act.