I don’t know what could be worse, being forever an outcast or never being free.
Why do I even worry about this, right?
I am a Mexican-American, 20-year-old female college student living in the U.S.
I am free, I’m not an outcast, I could do as I wish and I have every possible opportunity available to me.
Other young adults don’t have this freedom.
There are about 2.1 million undocumented students residing in the U.S. About 65,000 of these students are DREAMers.
They are undocumented children who are graduating at the top of their classes, yet are unable to afford college because the government refuses to fund the education of students who don’t have a signed piece of paper proving that they are citizens of the U.S.
The DREAM Act is a bill that would not only allow undocumented students to receive financial aid, but it would also eventually grant them U.S. citizenship and permission to enlist in the military.
Many undocumented students quit before they can even be told that they don’t qualify for the same opportunities as the rest of their fellow classmates.
In the early years of high school, they learn that upon graduation they will be restricted from receiving any form of government aid to attend college.
As a result, they drop out of school and their talents get lost in the labor of farming and factory work.
Critics of the DREAM Act complain that illegal immigrants are ruining the economy through welfare.
They say that each year thousands of immigrants cross the border, find haven in a small town or city, and then proceed to feed their children with welfare checks that come from taxpayers’ annual income.
However, immigrants aren’t the only group in society who benefit from welfare checks. About 61 percent of welfare recipients are Caucasian.
Congress refusing to pass the DREAM Act is not about the concerns they express.
It is about the few who still seem to have an issue with race and progress in this country.
Passing the DREAM Act would help improve dropout rates.
It would encourage students to stay in school and graduate with enough success to proceed on to a postsecondary education.
As a result, undocumented youth will one day purchase homes, cars and other goods. They will fill the job market with talent and the drive to move forward in this economy.
With a positive outlook, they won’t need the welfare that critics complain about.
Many may say that because these people are undocumented, it should not be our responsibility as a nation to pick them up.
But what does that say about us?
Are we really willing to continue on this path of ignorance because, God forbid, our egos get broken down when there are more people to compete with?
Point blank, work harder.
We should be supporting the intelligent mind and be challenging it, not belittling it.

-Blanca Esquivel

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