The Unspoken Epidemic


***I just want to say that my story may offend some or cause a significant amount of opposing views. I may be considered a radical by some or not patriotic, but this could be farther from the truth. If the American public could just open their eyes and see what is realistically happening in our country it could improve our society as a whole.*** My best friend, we can call him J, is an undocumented student from the Philippines. He was brought to the United States by his parents on a tourist visa when he was just two years old. His parents never left, and created a life in the United States. They are a typical middle class family, and no one would ever have any idea that they were legally not supposed to be in the country. J attended elementary, middle, and graduated from high school in the United States. It is interesting because he had no idea that he was undocumented until he turned sixteen and wanted to get a driver’s license, and his parents had to break down and tell him the truth about his citizenship. As of now J attends college, but is not allowed to apply for any sort of financial aid or loans. But what will happen to J when he graduates? He is not legally allowed to work in the country that he grew up in. Is he forced to join a life of crime? This is a story that is extremely prevalent in the United States. Our government estimates that 65,000 undocumented individuals graduate high school each year. Does that mean that we are essentially producing a new generation of criminals? Personally, I do not want a massive amount of individuals driving without a license, joining gangs, or turning to other forced criminal activities to earn a living. Many opponents to any sort of immigration reform has continually returned to the same argument, they do not want to reward these individuals for breaking the law, but these students did not break the law, their parents did. When I was two years old, I did not have any sort of a voice in where I lived or what choices my parents made. What are these individuals supposed to do? Return to a country they have not been to in over fifteen years? J does not even have a fluent knowledge of Tagalog, the national language in the Philippines. The Dream Act is the best solution to this epidemic because it offers these students a path to citizenship that they have no way of attaining otherwise. “The DREAM Act, incorporated into the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S.2611), offers unauthorized youth a path to conditional legal status if they arrived in the United States before age 16, have been in the country for five continuous years, and have graduated from high school or obtained a GED. Conditional legal residents who attend college or join the military within the six years of their conditional status will become eligible for permanent legal status in a “bargain” that is unprecedented in the history of US immigration policy because legal status has never before been conditioned on young adults’ educational and military choices. Qualifying youth would be authorized to work in the United States, go to school, or join the military. If during the six-year period they graduate from a two-year college, complete at least two years of a four-year degree, or serve at least two years in the US military, the act’s beneficiaries would be able to adjust from conditional to permanent legal resident status. Otherwise, after six years their conditional status lapses.In short, the proposed legislation represents a powerful imperative for recipients of conditional status to either pursue a college education or join the military. It also provides a strong incentive for unauthorized children now in US schools to finish high school. And it may provide a strong incentive to recent unauthorized dropouts to complete their schooling or obtain a GED. Making legal status conditional on young adults’ educational and military choices has no precedent in US immigration policy.” It is also important to state that you have to be between the ages of 12 and 30 when the bill is enacted to be eligible, and if at any time during the six year period an individual commits a felony they are automatically deported. It also does not make these individuals eligible for federal grants, but they are able to take out loans. It also does not grant citizenship to their parents in any way.   I wanted to share the story of J because he is an amazingly intelligent student with immense amounts of talent to offer the world, but his life is essentially as he puts it “on hold”. I think if people really took a look at the deeper issues that are facing our society this would not be such a controversial issue.    
themanicmind themanicmind
22-25, F
5 Responses Mar 2, 2009

Laurin to answer your question about why they cannot apply for citizenship like everyone else there are a lot of different reasons. In the United States, there is a law stating that if an individual has illegally been in the country for more than 12 months, like the individuals eligible for the DREAM act measures, they are not allowed to apply for citizenship. These individuals are deported and are banned from applying for citizenship or any sort of reentry for ten years. So, basically if my friend J attempted to apply he would be deported to the Philippines and not allowed to attempt to apply for ten years. Also these individuals would have had to apply under their parents, who are in most cases not citizens. Thus, that is not a possibility. The process legally (the wouldnt apply to these students) alone takes years, so it doesnt really address the central problem with thousands graduating each year. I hope that explains why other forms of legislation is being looked at and not just what we already have in place.

that would work as well

Is there some reason why they couldn't go through the proper channels and become legal residents?

this sounds like a very good idea to me. i actually heard something similar suggested by George Carlin (yes the comedian) but he was suggesting it for all illegal aliens and he was only recommending they be told they have a choice they can serve 4 years in the military after which time they would become naturalized citizens or we could throw them in prison. this really surprised me coming from Carlin as he was usually very liberal and anti military!

Wow! The military? They want to use them as disposable people! This is a very scary story. I would like to read more about this. . Very very scary.