By anyone's standards, Andres has a bright future ahead. He was accepted into the most selective and prestigious magnet high schools in the country and excelled in his classes. He was recognized for extracurricular and volunteer work. Along with his classmates, he eagerly began the college admission process. Andres had always stood out as an excellent student. However, just as he was planning his future, he stood out for a different reason. Andres came to the U.S. with his family at age four on a visa. Overstaying their visa, the family became undocumented immigrants.
Although this was not his choice, Andres paid for the decision dearly -- he had to sacrifice for his dream of becoming an engineer because of lack of access to higher education.
The DREAM (The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act is bipartisan legislation that would provide the opportunity to young people with good moral character, who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and graduated from high school to legalize their status. Students qualify for a 6 year conditional permanent resident status if he or she entered the country before age 16, lived in the U.S. for at least five years before passage of the DREAM Act, and earned a high school diploma. Permanent resident status is available upon completion of two years of higher education or military service. The DREAM Act will not apply to students with criminal records or dishonorable discharges from the military. Instead of punishing students for actions taken on their behalf and beyond their control, the DREAM Act would provide a tough but fair process by which they could gain legal status.
As the final details of the DREAM Act get hammered out, we are asking the Department of Homeland Security to temporarily halt deportation of students who will qualify for this program. Let these students who didn't have control over their past take control of their futures through education, hard work and legalization. Help them achieve their dreams by giving back to the country they call home.