The people I meet love to tell me they are American but also from other places. They are proud of their heritage, drawing lineage from maybe two to three different countries stretching from disparate areas around the globe.
The strength of this country is that it is first and foremost about an idea, that we can come from all four corners of the globe, yet become one nation and live our own version of the American dream.
I am doing that now, a young Irish woman, like millions from my country before me. I love this country and the chance it has given me. I am lucky I am legally here.
There are millions like me right now. It is so powerful an idea that it has become the the envy of the world.
But for a country that was built by the contribution of immigrants why are so many Americans opposed to legislation that could transform illegal immigrants into taxpaying citizens?
Last week saw yet another setback for the controversial DREAM Act. Majority Leader Harry Reid attempted to bring the bipartisan DREAM Act up for a vote but the Act was never voted on as every Senate Republican led by Sen. John McCain voted to block the debate.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (the DREAM Act) would open up the door to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who came here as before turning 16 (and have not yet turned 30) and have been in the country continually for a minimum of five years.
These are people who had no choice in life. Their parents brought them here and they will spend the rest of their lives living with the consequences of that. Basic fairness should dictate that they be given their chance at the American dream too
Under the Act conditional legal status would be granted to students who have completed high school or have been admitted to an institution of higher education.
To simplify we have a scenario where by educated upstanding members of the community who have lived in the US for a considerable period want to become citizens and fully contribute to the American economy.
About 2.1 million undocumented immigrants could be eligible for legalization if the legislation is passed.
One of the most prominently discussed issues in today’s society, immigration reform is an issue marred with public debate and criticism. Millions of undocumented immigrants from every corner of the world make up a significant proportion of the American workforce. Cooking, cleaning, serving, building, landscaping, caring, illegal immigrants go to work every day in this country.
I say that the DREAM Act is a logical step towards progressive inclusion of capable and talented illegal immigrants. Opponents of the DREAM Act insist that it is a watered down form of Amnesty and that the aliens will use their newly acquired status to seek green cards for parents who originally brought them into the country.
I ask the question…what is the alternative?