11th grade, International High School
[1st Place, 11th and 12th Grade Contest]
What is an American? Are Americans defined by a common culture or by the place they were born? What does it take to tell someone they are not American?
To begin with, the United States of America is a very diverse country. The country consists of people from different ethnic groups and many originate from different countries. An immigrant is a person who migrates to another country. An illegal immigrant is a foreigner who has entered or resides in a country without government permission. Both migrate for a better life with more opportunities. The only difference is that one enters legally and the other illegally. In the United States today, about 500,000 immigrants enter the country illegally per year.
Some of these illegal immigrants bring their children illegally to the United States of America at a young age. They eventually settle and raise their children in an American culture. These children attend an American school, learn how to speak English and live like a regular American child. As time goes by, these children become teenagers in high school and have forgotten about the culture they left behind. They see no difference between themselves and everybody else.
The reality of these children and young adults is that they live in the United States illegally and do not have government permission to reside here. Reality does not hit most of these children and young adults till they attend high school. When they become high school seniors, they will not be able to go to college because they do not have a green card. They will graduate with their class but will not be able to move on to the next stage of their life because of the simple fact that they do not have a green card. Some of these students are top of their class, are high achieving and can become a very successful adult. However, the sad fact is that these young adults do not have the chance to prosper in life. Thus, most of them will end up working at a fast food restaurant, a factory or as a janitor.
In addition to not having a bright future, some of these students will be deported before they even get the chance to think about college. About 200,000-300,000 illegal immigrants are deported each year. These students are some of the people being deported. It is unjust that these young adults whom have committed no crime are being deported. They are being separated from their families and the only place they know.
In 2001, Senators Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch proposed a legislative to the Senate. This legislative would provide conditional permanent residency to certain illegal aliens of fine character who graduated from U.S. high schools, arrived in the United State as minors and lived in the country endlessly for at least five years before to the bill's enactment. This bill is known as the DREAM Act and the students involved in this bill are known as “DREAMERS”. This bill has brought many controversies and has many opponents.
In 2012, the Obama administration stated that it would accept requests for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DACA is an initiative made to temporarily restrain the deportation of young people residing illegally in the U.S. To qualify, these students had to be brought to the United States as children, have graduated from U.S. schools and basically have the standards under legislative proposals like the DREAM Act.
Although this is a great start, it does not solve the problem. Many dreamers are still getting deported, not in college, and have a failing future ahead of them. There are many protests going on to try and change the laws. I believe the United States will thrive if these students receive their green card and in exchange will attend college and get a great education.
Thus, my plan for peace is to allow the dreamers to gain their green card as long as they go to college and get an education. Dreamers will be at peace knowing that they won’t have to leave the only place they know. American citizens will be at peace knowing that it will benefit the country because the college graduate rate will increase and the dreamers will be able to pay taxes and contribute to America.
Dade, Corey. "Obama Administration Deported Record 1.5 Million People." NPR. NPR, 24 Dec. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2013. This website discusses the rate of deportations and the amount of deportations during the Obama Administration.
Who and Where the DREAMers Are, Revised Estimates." Immigration Policy Center. N.p., 16 Oct. 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2013. This website discusses immigration and The DREAM Act.
"Welcome to the DREAM Act Portal." Welcome to the DREAM Act Portal. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2013. This website discusses The Dream Act.