Saturday, May 19, 2007

The "Dream" Act

There are a few ways to be a part of the great American dream if you are not born an American. You can study hard, go through the the incredibly uncertain procedure of applying to the American universities from abroad, get through with some luck, get financial support from the school with some more luck, and land up in the land of opportunities. Then struggle in an unfamiliar land to successfully finish you degree and hopefully get a job - which would eventually help you to become a citizen after lengthy intermediate phases. The other way would be to get a job here, or at least pretend to, and then hope to get lucky in the "great h1b visa giveaway lottery".

Or you can just immigrate illegally. At least that is what the "Dream Act" (The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, in short, coming up in Congress soon) named so appropriately tells you to do. In a nutshell, it says if your parents immigrated illegally, but you do not have any criminal record (immigrating illegally is certainly not criminal any more) and if you went to high school for a certain period here, you would be considered legal resident. No luck factor involved. You can then join the army - I am sure they need more people to maintain world peace. Not just that, you would be paying discounted in-state tuition if you go to college. What is so bad about that? Most of the Americans from different states or "legal" non-American students do not get to pay in-state tuition automatically. So moral of the story is, immigrating illegally is not so bad after all - in fact it may lead to some "dream" rewards later.

Somehow, just a year before the presidential elections, the theme sounds all to familiar for us, used to seeing politicians hell bent on handing out preferential treatments to certain sections of the people arbitrarily. No points for guessing where the eerie similarity is.

3 comments:

Dhoritri said...

I thought the recent proposal in Congress will go against families...I mean if I have a visa, then green card, it will naturally not translate into my parents getting it ...Also ppl who applied after 2005 will have to apply again...Which artile are u referring to ?

Thanks for your comment ...so politely u think i am paranoid .... :)

dipthought said...

My post was in context of this - http://www.nilc.org/immlawpolicy/DREAM/index.htm

Now, delving deeper into the debate, I found most of it buried in technical/bureaucratic jargon. Its tough to take a right moral stand on it - in fact the whole definition of who is illegal is getting kind of blurry. How much leeway should be given for family ties? And how to monitor that? What about the huge number of not entirely legal IT professionals and body shoppers who import them? And should not be immigrating a privilege rather than a right? But then again, this historically being a country of immigrants, where does one draw the line? And in spite of all that and many more unanswered questions, the current initiative is mostly political.

And, in current time and age, we have no choice but to be paranoid! :)

Armelle said...

Well written article.