Juliana’s DREAM

My classmate, Juliana, published a great post recently called “My DREAM” on immigrant and undocumented students in the United States. These individuals, though intelligent, face tremendous barriers for getting a higher education and consequently become unemployed and are forced back to their country of origin. The DREAM Act, fortunately, provides a solution. If this new federal law is passed, undocumented students who were brought to the United States at the age of 16 and have been in the country for 5 years or more are eligible to pursue a higher education. Doors would be opened that could help lift them and their families out of a cycle of poverty.

I myself am an immigrant but have been lucky enough to grow up in a supportive and privileged environment that my parents provided for me. That is why I identify with what Juliana says when she writes: “As I start off in my medical career, I feel privileged to have the opportunity to study and fulfill my own dreams…At the same time, I realize that many of my peers, over 2 million youth, have not been afforded the same opportunities due to their undocumented status. These youth are my neighbors, friends, and potential future colleagues. It just doesn’t seem fair that we can be so similar, yet a few lucky cards thrown in my favor (and not in theirs) can so alter our fates.”

I had a chance to talk with Juliana when we went canvassing in Quincy, MA for the midterm elections. She spent a year in Mexico and became interested in issues related to migrants and undocumented immigration into the United States. Perhaps some may think that these individuals do not deserve the rights bestowed by the United States Constitution. But Juliana described the incredibly tortuous process for these individuals to get their papers to come to the United States, that every step of the process worked against them, including many things we take for granted such as good transportation. When these individuals are facing starvation and a need to support their family, they often cannot wait at least 10 years, which is how long it usually takes to get their papers, before they can improve their situation.

Although we may come from relatively fortunate backgrounds – getting dealt a favorable hand in life – I am inspired by people like Juliana who have the opportunity to do anything that they want, but choose instead to serve the underprivileged and marginalized of society.

*Edit: Great article from The Economist 11/21 – The Message the DREAM Act sends

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