Every year 65,000 teenagers graduate from high school and have nowhere to go. Unlike other students, these graduates cannot get a job, join the military, or qualify for in-state tuition at state universities. The Dream Act was first proposed in 2001 and would provide qualifying undocumented youth with six years of conditional permanent residency with the condition they completed two years in the military or two years at a four-year college/university. This bill has been altered numerous times and has been unable to pass in the United States as a whole. In 2011, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 131, the second bill of the two-part California Dream Act. Other states that have their own version of the Dream Act. These states include Texas, Illinois, Utah, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, New York, Washington, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Maryland. Although many know the logistics of the Dream Act, many do not know the hope that it instills among undocumented youth.
According to statistics from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), most of these students (Dreamers) in all grade levels have been raised in America, in American public school systems, and in American cities. Many speak only English and have stronger ties to the American culture than to that of their country of origin. These students, if asked, would identify as American because that is all they have known. The fact that they are restricted from accessing higher education because they do not have a specific piece of paper is almost like restricting them from being part of the country they call home. Yes, they were not born here but this is where they grew up and have contributed the most. A simple way to look at this would be to consider where you live now and where you were born. Many people were born in one city but grew up in another, and all their memories are where they grew up. I understand that passing the Dream Act would have its effects but I would love everyone to remember that the students that would benefit from the bill have been contributing to this nation and call it home. Should they really be refused the right to a better education?