By Thay Alaffita
Since the DREAM Act was introduced for the first time in 2001, a decade ago, it has been changed, modified, and altered to something that vaguely resembles our dreams for the mere sake of catering to the Republicans’ needs and wants.
Granted we can’t all get what we want so we, DREAMers, understand the importance of meeting our opposition halfway – some DREAM Act is better than no DREAM Act.
Last year, during the lame duck session in December 2010, our hopes were high, and there was no opposition on our part to the modifications that were made to the original bill even though its new form left out a significant group of DREAMers who have been in the struggle since day one.
This new bill was more specific about the things that would constitute as “good moral standing”, it specified that having fixed status through the DREAM Act, DREAMers would never be able to petition for family members or loved ones, and it lowered the age cap (this amendment being the one affecting the DREAMers mentioned above who unfortunately, aged out of this new version).
Even so, these very DREAMers, the seniors in our movement, urged the passage of the DREAM Act in its new form and us to continue fighting, at this point it had become about the movement as a whole and not an individual interest.
However, our GOP presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney have interesting opinions on the DREAM Act. They say if they become president they will support the DREAM Act, but only for those who join the military. Although there is a group of military DREAMers who would benefit from this form of the DREAM Act, there is a larger group of us who won’t. This suggestion is an insult to our movement, to our struggle, and to our DREAMers who have been fighting for equal education for all. All that Gingrinch and Romney are saying through this is that we are only useful for war, at the forefront, as cannonballs and ammunition, implying that we are not capable of anything else but going to war.
I have friends, both documented and undocumented, who want to join the military or are currently serving, but I don’t want to join the military! I am not cut out for that, I know I am not. All my life, since I could dream and wish, I’ve wanted to teach. Isn’t that profession just as noble as fighting and dying for your country? To wake up every morning and go to school and teach a bunch of kids what the pledge of allegiance means? Isn’t it just as noble to want to educate the future of America?
And not just teachers, but I have friends who want to be doctors, lawyers, architects, you name it. All these things would contribute to American in one way or another which in the end would make America well-rounded, fair, and just as it has always claimed to be. Don’t rob us of our dreams and incarcerate us more by forcing us to take drastic measures to be able to call America our home. Let us serve this country by becoming educated and contributing members of society. Let us choose how to give back, so long as we give back. Gingrich and Romney, please reconsider your stance on the DREAM Act, and think for a second that we are as American as you are, as your children are, and as your children’s children will be.