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Revisiting the DREAM Act

December 6, 2011 - Andrea Johnson
Should illegal immigrants who were brought here by their parents when they were children be given a means to stay here legally?

That was the premise of the DREAM Act, which would have granted legal residency to children of illegal immigrants who attend college or enroll in the military. The DREAM Act failed to pass Congress earlier this year, but people apparently haven't given up hope.

Yesterday I received an e-mail from the "Campaign for an American Dream." Apparently Raymi, Lucas, Jonatan and Tony, four young people, will be walking 3,000 miles from California to Washington, D.C. next spring to try and drum up support for reintroducing the DREAM Act.

Kids in this position have some unique challenges. They are not legal citizens, so cannot easily get a driver's license or a job, yet they were raised in this country and probably feel like Americans. Some of them may no longer speak the language of their home countries. How do you deport a kid who doesn't speak Spanish back to Mexico? It probably happens quite a bit, a modern day example of the sins of the fathers being revisited on the children.

That would be the hardliner position, that it's the fault of the parents for bringing the kids here in the first place and the whole family should be deported. I can understand that position. The country has limited resources and a flood of illegal immigrants can be a drain on education, health services and competition for low wage jobs at a time when the national economy is in the basement.

But I have a harder time taking a position like that when I read an e-mail about four young people willing to walk across the country -- a country that they may not technically be citizens of, no matter how much they love it -- to get their position heard.

Is there room for a DREAM Act for these kids?


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