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Monday, November 29, 2010

Dream Act A Compromise For Immigrant Youth

Article first published Dream Act Compromise For Immigrant Youth by author Tim Paynter on Technorati

Imagine your fadream act final pushsmther and mother were involved in a criminal enterprise. They got caught. There is a price to pay. The family is plunged into crises. Well wishers advise the children to move on with their own lives and forgive their parents.


In the case of the children of undocumented workers, conservative voices are not satisfied with forcing the parents to pay consequences. They insist upon leveling punishment upon a generation of young people who have done nothing more than cry when they there is nothing to eat.


A five year old child can’t cross a border illegally because he is incapable of understanding what a border is in the first place. He lacks what is known in the law as the Mens Rhea, the guilty mind.  Many undocumented youth have no memory of making the trip at all, even though hundreds of people die in the desert each year. The question is, how can it be fair to impose a penalty upon a child whose parent has broken the law?  How is it fair to impose a penalty on innocent youth?  That is precisely what is occurring with the children of undocumented workers.


i love da dreamCurrently, when the child of an undocumented worker graduates from high school, his future is dubious.  Most colleges won't accept him.  Later, if he is able to get a college education, he can't use the degree.  He does not have the documents.  Nor can he serve in the armed forces at a time when the country may place a call for young people to put their lives on the line for the United States.  It is clear we are not prepared for a war with North Korea if it comes to it.


The Dream Act provides a narrow exception in immigration law for the approximately 65,000 college age children of undocumented workers in the U.S. In essence it says, we, the American People will make you a deal. If you go to college or serve your country in the military, then we will grant you status as a permanent resident.


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The Dream Act isn’t amnesty because there are no gifts here. The student must take actions far beyond a mere application to adjust status. It is up to the student to figure out how to finance his education or be accepted for military service.  He won't qualify for student aid. There is a background check and eventually hefty fines to help balance the budget. Back income taxes will have to be paid to the extent they are owed. The immigrant student must earn the forgiveness of the sins of his father.


If the student completes his end of the bargain then we will grant the student status as a permanent resident, not a citizen. If the student fails in his obligations he or she will be in the system. His identity will be known, a major goal for law enforcement. He will have a drivers license and hence insurance. At the end of the day, if the student fails in his end of the bargain, he will be deported.


The Dream Act provides a narrow solution for undocumented youths, without forgiving their parents. The fate of the parents will be determined through comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), or lack thereof, at a later date. The consequences the Dreamers must pay for the wrongs of their parents will benefit society in general. Many say it is a reasonable compromise for a divided nation.


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