Legal Dream Dismissed

April 26, 2013 Op-Eds, Opinion

Reform bill shatters hopes of legal immigrants as the “Dream Act” solely applies to undocumented residents.

My parents brought me to the United States from Scotland when I was twelve years old, hoping for better educational opportunities for me. I was listed as a dependent on their Investor Treaty Visa. Because I have now lived in Florida for so many years, I am fully assimilated with the American culture; I support American sports teams, sing the National Anthem, refer to America as “home” and even speak with an American accent. Knowing the lengths my parents went to in order to provide me with the best opportunities possible, I have never taken my education for granted. I have been educated as an American and have always performed well in school, helping me gain a full-ride academic scholarship to attend Rollins. But my F1 visa, along with my “American Dream,” is due to expire as soon as I graduate in May 2015 because there are currently no pathways to permanent residency or citizenship for the thousands of immigrants in my situation.

There are other immigrants who, like me, were brought to this country when they were young children who are due to be given a path to citizenship through the Dream Act. This act is part of the new comprehensive immigration reform bill proposed by the Senate “Gang of 8” last Wednesday, April 17. There is just one difference between those who would be covered by the act and myself: I was brought to this country legally. As the bill is currently written, only those children brought to the country without documentation will be allowed to stay under the Dream Act upon completing their higher education, while those here on legal visas will be faced with deportation back to their “home” countries—places which they may barely remember and may not identify as their “home.” This means that while a child brought to the country at the same time I was without documentation could be allowed to stay upon graduation, I will be faced with deportation.

As the bill is currently written, only those children brought to the country without documentation will be allowed to stay under the Dream Act.

I believe that it is a moral imperative to include legal immigrants in the Dream Act. Failing to do so will not only export thousands of talented, educated young minds to competing countries, but also set a double standard in immigration.

I currently have an online petition (via Change.org) asking Senator Marco Rubio to include legal immigrants in the Dream Act to allow us to stay in our country as hard-working and productive members of American society. Please e-mail me at rahamilton@rollins.edu for the link to add your name to the petition, which will remain open until May 2.

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