A few weeks ago I heard a story from a friend in Oklahoma. She works with high school science teachers, helping them learn how to add biotechnology to their courses.
One teacher, in particular, has taken the new science activities to heart. Her students did so well, they won a science competition and were asked to fly somewhere to accept the prize.
For many of those students, this would be their first trip on an airplane and their first trip outside of rural Oklahoma. It was pretty exciting!
But there were some unexpected problems.
Some of these children were illegal.
Just like the students my friend knew on the underdog team that won the science fair, many kids are finding their teen years include a horrible surprise. Supporters of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act), claim that over 65,000 kids a year become teenagers and find out they have no country. Their dreams, their goals, their hopes for the future, mean nothing.
Often the children don’t even know they’re illegal until it’s time to get a driver’s license.
What do we do with them? It’s heartbreaking to think of kids who’ve grown up here, worked hard, attended school, and were in all ways, typical American teenagers.
Now what are they? Criminals?
Senators Richard Durbin of Illinois and Richard Lugar of Indiana and Rep. Howard Berman of California and Lincoln Diaz-Balart of Florida want to help these kids.
Under the rigorous provisions of the DREAM Act, undocumented young people could be eligible for a conditional path to citizenship in exchange for a mandatory two years in higher education or military service. Undocumented young people must also demonstrate good moral character to be eligible for and stay in conditional residency
You can help kids keep their dreams alive.
For more information on the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (The “DREAM Act”) see the Wikipedia DREAM Act entry. You can also read the text of the legislation, and watch a movie about a kid in this situation.