Important congressional legislation that would have favored hard working individuals, for whom the U.S. is the only home they can remember, did not gain the necessary votes for passage Tuesday.
However, this should not discourage continued efforts to pass similar reform.
The DREAM Act, short for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, would have opened a path to citizenship by granting legal residency to youths who were brought illegally to the U.S., but have served for two years in the military or are attending college.
The qualifications are important to note and justify granting citizenship.
If the pool of potential college educated citizen’s increases, there’s a greater chance that the brightest will have a chance to shine, producing more graduates based on academic achievement instead of socio-economic status. More and better graduates can have a positive effect economically and culturally.
Young people do not choose where their parents move, or whether their parents do so illegally. The proposed legislation recognized this, but pragmatically would have granted legal status only to those who can contribute significantly to the U.S.
The bill wasn’t opening borders to everyone or granting amnesty to millions of hardworking migrants and foreign workers. It was merely allowing those who are living in the U.S. for reasons outside of their control, but have contributed significantly, to be rewarded.
The vote was split down party lines, with Republicans staunchly against the bill and Democrats supporting it.
Many were upset because the bill was attached to a proposed repeal of the “don’t’ ask, don’t tell” policy that bans gays and lesbians from the military – another hot issue that has garnered national attention.
By not allowing these young people the chance to become citizens, even if they serve in the military or attend college, the U.S. government is basically making youths – as the old saying goes – pay for the sins of their fathers.
The defeat of this bill does not mean that a fairer treatment of these immigrants can’t be instituted. Representatives should still work hard to help keep the American Dream alive.
With the rejection of the bill, the U.S. political environment doesn’t look very progressive.
Despite this, supporters need to continue voicing their support for measures that could bring about changes that would give the most educated and patriotic immigrants a chance to become citizens and enjoy the benefits their sacrifices help to further.