Waking up from a bad dream
Published: Sunday, January 2, 2011
Updated: Sunday, January 2, 2011 18:01
An extra five votes is all it would have taken to fulfill a dream for the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants living in the United States.
On Dec. 18 Senate voted on a piece of legislation introduced a decade ago: the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act.
The bill — designed to give illegal immigrant youth a path to citizenship—fell five votes short of the necessary 60 to push it into chamber for a final debate.
Had the DREAM Act passed it would have allowed children of illegal immigrants to gain citizenship through either serving in the military or completing two years of college.
Eligibility would only be granted to people who moved to the U.S. before he or she turned 16, have been living here for more than five years and pass a criminal background check.
We were extremely disappointed when the bill failed to gain the necessary two-third majority, especially when we think of how lucky we are to have the opportunity to further our education and how illegal citizens are barred from that same privilege.
We think, too, of all our friends and family currently serving overseas and how they could benefit from the extra manpower.
Not only would the passing of this bill help all the illegal immigrants gain the citizenship they've so desperately dreamed of, but it would also help strengthen our nation as a whole by creating educated and patriotic citizens.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who voted against the bill, believes that the DREAM Act would have promoted illegal immigration — a problem he thinks should be addressed.
"The American people are pleading with Congress to enforce our laws, but this bill at its core is a reward for illegal activity," Sessions said.
Clearly, we do not wish to promote illegal activity and we don't believe the DREAM Act would have done so either.
The bill has been designed for those who had no choice but to move here illegally with their parents; people who we believe deserve a shot at success rather than being barred by their illegal status.
These young men and women have grown up in this country and many of them consider it their home, it is only fair that they be given a path to citizenship that will open the door for many other opportunities in the future.
"It is not only the right thing to do for talented young people who seek to serve a country they know as their own, it is the right thing for the United States of America," President Obama said of the DREAM Act. "Our nation is enriched by their talents and would benefit from the success of their efforts."
As this semester begins and you're introduced to new students in every class, think of all the illegal immigrant youth who came to America with their parents hoping for a chance to fulfill the American dream and receive an education.
Although you won't be seeing any of those eager young faces in your classes this semester, we encourage supporters of the bill to not lose hope.
Obama said after the disappointing vote that his administration will not give up until the DREAM Act passes and all illegal immigrant youth are given the tools they need to prosper in the Land of Liberty, which means we all must stay strong until the bill reaches the Senate next year.