As Christians we have a duty to care for and protect children. We are warned to be careful in our treatment of children and challenged to see them as whole persons created in the image of God. And so, as we ponder the Immigration Issue, one thing we must consider is the way our laws and policies impact immigrant children.
She was brought to the US when she was only 3 years old, today she is 17, a gifted student with a 4.3 GPA who will graduate in the top 10% of her class in 2011 … but she can’t get a drivers license or a job or make college plans or join the military – she has no hope of her dreams coming true. She is an illegal immigrant through no fault of her own.
More than 3 million students graduate from high school in the U.S. each year. Most have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, but there is a group of youth (more than 60,000) who are much less fortunate because they have inherited the label of illegal immigrant. These young people have lived most of their lives in the United States, most have no connection or personal knowledge of another country, and are culturally American. No matter how smart, well behaved and hard working this group of young people are, they are caught in a system that offers little or no way for them to legalize their status and pursue their dreams. Even if they are accepted by one of the higher education institutions that accept illegal immigrants, they are faced with having to pay out of state tuition rates which usually end up being too costly since they do not qualify for any financial aid. The result is a higher rate of teens dropping out of school, a higher rate of teens involved in criminal activity and a higher rate of teen suicides.
The DREAM Act could change all of that if it was passed.
The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, also called the DREAM Act, would provide certain undocumented students, who were brought to the United States by their parents and have continuously resided in this country from a young age, conditional residency and a pathway to citizenship, provided they finish high school or earn a GED, and go on to college or the military. Once they are proven to qualify for the program they are given 6 years to obtain a 2 year college degree or complete 2 years of military service. Upon completion of one of these goals they will be given the opportunity to change their conditional permanent residency to U.S. Citizenship.
To find out more about the DREAM Act and how to support it go here.
Together we can make dreams come true.
This post is part of a Synchroblog, where a group of bloggers post on the same topic on the same day, so that people can surf from one to the other and get different views on the same basic topic. You will find links to the other synchroblog posts below.
Jonathan Brink – Immigration Synchroblog
Mike Victorino at Still A Night Owl – Being the Flag
Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – Together We Can Make Dreams Come True
Sonnie Swentson-Forbes at Hey Sonnie – Immigration Stories
Matt Stone at Glocal Christianity – Is Xenophobia Ever Christlike?
Kathy Escobar at the carnival in my head – it’s a lot easier to be against immigration when you have papers
Steve Hayes at Khanya – Christians and the Immigration Issue
Ellen Haroutunian – Give Me Your Tired
Bethany Stedman – Choosing Love Instead of Fear
Pete Houston at Peter’s Progress – Of Rape and Refuge and Eyes Wide Shut
Joshua Seek – Loving Our Immigrant Brother
Amanda MacInnis at Cheese Wearing Theology – Christians and Immigration
Sonja Andrews at Calacirian – You’re Absolutely Right
Peter Walker – Synchroblog – Immigration Reform
Steven Calascione at Eirenikos – The Jealousy of Migration
George Elerick at The Love Revolution – We’re Not Kings or Gods
Beth Patterson at Virtual Tea House – What we resist not only persists but will eventually become our landlord
K. W. Leslie at The Evening of Kent – On American Immigration
Jeff Goins at Pilgrimage Of The Heart – When The Immigration Issue Gets Personal
Kathy Baldock at CanyonWalker Connections – My Visit To A Mosque, Now What?