Through various trials and obstacles faced by undocumented youth around the country, the hope that an answer to their distress will be answered still remains in the DREAM Act. Here are the stories of this generation. (I do not claim ownership of the media used in this page)
I am a sixty-one year old teacher. I have taught for over 38 years. My teaching experience includes working with GATE students, resource students, high maintenance kids and the children of my heart, EL students and newcomers. Over the years, I have seen students arrive in my classroom coming from all walks of life. I have seen the refugee students arrive with their I-94’s in hand. They have traveled the world and seen horrendous atrocities prior to arriving in America. Although terrorized at first, they eventually learn to value America and all of the wonderful things about it. They take their place in our society. Many have won scholarships, have completed their universities degrees and are working and giving back to a country that took them in. I am pleased that they have transitioned and have become the new Americans.
I have also had newly immigrated students from other countries who came in undocumented. They were minors when they arrived and somehow our society and our government choose to punish minors for crimes which their parents committed. I have had students arrive, equally as terrorized as the refugee students. They have faced the same turmoil and tumultuous paths to arrive in America. Some have seen their parents have to swim across a river to get into America. Some have seen the coyotes take their money and leave them stranded. Some have seen atrocities along the way. When one is a minor, these events leave lasting memories. These kids work equally as hard as the other “refugee” students. They make fabulous grades in high school, they take pride in their education, and they move on to the university, originally having to pay out-of-state tuition because they did not have the proper documentation. They work hard to take their place in America. They excel, and yet the laws of America, established by ignorant Congressional leaders, punish minors who had no choice in decisions made by their parents. They strive for excellence, they receive their degrees from the universities with honors; however, unlike my other students, they are not given their chance to give back to our society by paying taxes and stepping into the American dream because OUR COUNTRY is so ignorant that it chooses to enforce laws that are punitive. If any other country treated minors the way we are treating our undocumented students, America would be protesting over civil rights violations. Our attitude is almost the same as in 19th century England with debtors prison where everyone in the family was punished equally due to the decisions made by the parents. Everyone says, “Well, have these undocumented students retrace their steps and come into America the right way.” Whoever says that has no concept of the archaic laws of immigration and the dead ends that our country has placed in attempting to come into the country legally. They have no idea that nothing is set in place to help these students out. Many students know no other country than America because they came in at such an early age. Does a 3 year old have the ability to tell his/her parents, “Sorry, please do not take me to America. I will never be able to be legal if you do”? Nothing has been made easy to allow these students to take their place in our society and begin paying taxes because everyone lacks knowledge of the lack of ethical laws in place. And, of course, no politician is going to make waves because he/she does not have the intestinal fortitude to withstand the ignorance of an unknowing population. SO my students continue to become the shadows of our country. They never are given the opportunity to be a part of this country because the laws of this country are so irrational. In Plato’s allegory of the cave there was mention of a mentor who would lead the ignorant out of their chained environment of the cave and allow them into the world of education and knowledge. There is no one leader in America who has the courage and strong conviction to help these students out.
I am sad for America because we are losing a viable resource in the workforce with these students. We are losing the best of the best minds because no one in America has the guts to own up that the laws are wrong.