Whose American DREAM, are we ACTing against? Immigration, education and a poll!

I am sitting here crying.  Crying my eyes out.  Maybe this is why people freak out at the mention of a woman president.  They imagine a white version of me sitting in the white house crying and eating lots of chocolate bemoaning budget issues or something…

Anyway, so it’s weird to be crying over an immigration issue.  I am not an immigrant.  I am a Bronx born Puerto Rican which makes me both a citizen and a Latina.

So thankfully my ass is covered by Uncle Sam from both ends of the platano.

but if I had been born in Mexico, Santo Domingo or Jamaica (insert anywhere else),

I would NOT be a citizen of the United States.

That seems reasonable so far and truthful.

So back to my bucket of tears…

(image from memegenerator.net)

One of my college friends is now a politician.  I will not state his name or location.  In college, we were in the same improv group, on student council together etc etc.

He was down to earth, open minded, sweet…all the things you need from college friends.

Flash forward to now.

Homeboy is now an elected official.  He fought tooth and american nail to railroad any sort of DREAM Act in his hometown, the town we BOTH went to college in.

Did he feel this way while I was in class with him?  Wondering if I was legal, wondering if I deserved to be there…?  And I’m like, damn had my family been one island over, he’d essentially be telling me that I shouldn’t be educated here.

I’m guessing people like their “illegal” immigrants stupid and sturdy.

What is the big deal if non-citizens have access to higher education and possibly be eligible for in state tuition?

Should we not want EVERYONE in this country to be able to better themselves?  Isn’t this what whitey has been telling us about America, land of the free, home of the Whopper, since forever?

(image from penpens super blog)

This politician “friend” posted his sadness on FB over the idea of  DREAM Act.  All of the responding comments were by other saddened republican predominantly (read: all) white constituents lamenting their hard earned tax dollars being put into the brains of those damned greedy illegals.

Am I missing something?  I pay taxes.  Should I be mad too?  I feel insane.

I don’t know anything about the legal immigration process or naturalization. maybe that’s why I feel so confused.

Some of friends are saying things like, “Well why should any of my money go to their college funds?”  “They come here to work not go to school.  They can do that in their own countries.”

So I looked into the DREAM Act a little and this is what I found:

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2010 was passed Dec. 8 by the House of Representatives and awaits a vote in the Senate. The bill would grant “conditional non-immigrant status” to those who entered the U.S. illegally before their 16th birthday and have been here for at least five years. They must be persons “of good moral character” who are not deportable under the Immigration and Nationality Act, and have to be younger than 30 when the DREAM Act is passed.

To qualify for the bill’s provisions, illegal immigrants must also satisfy one of the following requirements: have a high school diploma, be enrolled in a college or university, or be a servicemember for at least two years.

Under the new legislation, conditional non-immigrant status would be granted to those who qualified for five years and could be extended another five years. In this status, they would be eligible for student loans and federal work-study grants. Upon earning a college degree, or after serving two years in the military, they could then apply for permanent residence.

Um so we’re really talking about kids and teenagers, right?  Like…who wouldn’t have just smuggled themselves over here for the heck of it…who were brought here for a better life, as KIDS….

So now we’re a country that denies kids with “good moral character”, a “high school degree” and the desire to achieve their educational goals the access and funds to that education?

Aren’t those the kinds of children we WANT in this country?  Educated, ambitious and proud children of immigrants, they’re not the ones smuggling meth from tiajuana or toronto into the US.

I am educated and I am open to debate and I want to understand everyone’s point of view.  I do.  I highly encourage you to check me when I’m wrong.  Neither one of us knows everything.

Yet, to be against the DREAM Act seems so societally counter productive.  If Latinos are going to make up such a huge percent of the population in the future (and now), shouldn’t we as a country be trying to help make that transition the most successful and all inclusive transition ever?

And Latinos aren’t the only non-citizens running around this country undocumented…but we seem to have the perfect faces for pulling hate and mistrust out of the really good and hardworking people in this country.

I’m guessing opponents imagine “these people” in their schools:

When really it’s more like this:

(images from newsone.com)

And yet, The United States of America has no problem funding a government sanctioned NASCAR fund worth upwards of 32.8 million dollars but we don’t wanna allow illegal (god i hate that word) immigrant children/teens/youngadults access to higher education or in-state tuition?

America, ya’ll don’t make any kind of sense.  I am tired of your antics.  I am tired of this insidious white-centric republican anti-community anti-acceptance systematic hypocrisy that this country feeds off of.

It is time to ACT.  wait, is blogging an act?  yeah…i think so and so is hitting up your politicians in support of the Dream Act from the Latino Rebels and checking out this awesome organization the New York State Youth Leadership Council.

Unluckily, for my politico friend, a bill allowing “illegal” immigrants to be eligible for in state tuition passed in our alma mater’s state.  He’s probably still that good kid I used to know.  He has his beliefs and I have mine.  The only difference is I try to not fight against things like education.

Access to education should be an irrefutable right.

No more tears for me….well not right now anyway.

What do you think about all of this?

3 thoughts on “Whose American DREAM, are we ACTing against? Immigration, education and a poll!

  1. First and foremost, I feel you deeply! I couldn’t have been more than 5 years old, living on the top floor of a 6 story walk-up on Barker Ave when my dad first called me a Bleeding Heart Liberal. It is who I am, so I share your grief. Despite the opinions of so many people around me, regardless of my awareness of differences, I have always seen us all as far more alike than different. Puerto Rico had become a part of the US in 1917 and my parents were part of The Great Migration of the 1950’s. My grandmothers, God bless them for their bravery, came here (sans husbands) to find a better life for their children and the children and grandchildren to come. It is simply luck that opened that door for my family. Even more so, I think it is simply luck that any of us were born here and can lay claim to this beautiful country.

    Understanding that, my Liberal heart literally does bleed for anyone born without freedom or opportunity or safety…it truly BREAKS MY HEART!! Further still, it angers me that so many naturalized citizens do not see how lucky they are and refuse to understand what it would be like NOT to have been so lucky.

    I think the bill is a great piece of legislation for many reasons, chief among them is the fact that I know in my heart that what makes this country great (even more than freedom) is diversity! We are so much greater for it! For that reason and the faith that these young people will make our country even greater, I believe that The Dream Act is a fantastic idea! Two distinct differences in my ideology v. Conservatives are: 1) I look at investing in the future as a necessity and I recognize the long-term benefits in various programs and 2) As I’ve said before, I see us all as far more alike than different. I don’t think much in terms of “Them & Us.”

    With that said…I am a 40 year old home-owner and mother of two. I have helped neighbors and family and fostered 2 children and I’ve been honored to do so; however, I have found myself in the situation of having to turn people away in order to protect my family. Resources are not limitless and, further still, there are many people who do not have fair expectations and would take advantage when given the chance. I know this to be true. I don’t think that The Dream Act falls into this category, though it would obviously need caps or something. But it’s important to recognize that it’s just not in our power to take care of EVERYONE, at least not directly. That is why we need to institute good immigration policies and do what we can to help other countries.

    Once you consider that, you have to contemplate our involvement around the world, which frankly, is not my area of expertise…but I do understand that helping other countries take care of themselves helps us to safeguard our way of life. Now…don’t get carried away with that statement because I don’t like the times when we’ve been “the bully on the block” pretending that we know what’s right for everyone and policing the world. That’s not right either, but cooperating with other countries in order to make a stronger UN and help to protect human rights is important and necessary. It is hard to draw lines and “keep people out,” but it’s obvious that our resources are not limitless, therefore, we need to find a reasonable compromise.

    I know that I’ve already written too much, but I want to clarify once more that I am IN SUPPORT of The Dream Act. However, on a related note, I understand that we need to work on more effective immigration control, not because people don’t deserve to be here, but, just as I can’t support much more than my own household, neither can we afford to support everyone on the planet.

  2. One of my central beliefs is that if a person is struggling, trying to do the right thing, you gotta meet them half way. College is hard, the military is hard. You do these things because you want to be a better person, a more productive person, capable of providing for yourself and your (future or current) children. If you’re willing and able to do the work, and backing it up with action, then bring it on.

    It’s more than compassion, it’s practical. We get to keep more of the good people to make our country better.

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