Jeffrey Skrzypek, Second Place Award, 2005-2006
Young Steward of Public Policy
Second Place Award 2005-2006
"The DREAM Act"
By Jeffrey Skrzypek
Mountain Ridge High School
"Throughout the history of America, the United States' population has been compiled of a diverse group of immigrants. Most everyone that is living on U.S. soil has an immigrant in their heritage. Recently, though, society has become headstrong about stopping the immigration of anyone, especially people hailing from Mexico because of its close proximity. Many illegal immigrants also bring along their children to live here, children who really have no choice regarding where they live. As these children grow up in our society, they generally go through the Arizona public school system. But after high school, they are unable to use what they learned because the children are still illegal. The Development, Relief, and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act is the solution to this devastating situation since it allows undocumented children under age twenty-one to gain citizenship.
In some areas of Arizona, it is hard to see the problem the DREAM Act counters. Schools in the Phoenix Union High School District can tell anyone what the problem is. These schools typically have more students that are undocumented than most schools in the surrounding suburban areas. In the most recent school years, one of Metro Tech High School's top ranked GPA students has been an undocumented student. Year after year, many of these undocumented students receive scholarships for their hard work, but because they are still illegal, these students are unable to use their university degree to gain employment. Fifty-five to seventy thousand undocumented students who live in the U.S. graduate from high school, but many drop out due to a lack of options after high school. The mentality is why should a person spend four years doing something that means nothing unless that person is a citizen? The immigrants look at those four crucial years as time they could be working a low-end job and at least be making some money. After witnessing this catastrophe, an organization called Cadena began to push the DREAM Act (S. 1291).
The DREAM Act grants permanent residency to students under twenty-one, who have lived in the U.S. for five years, have good moral character (no criminal record), and have graduated from high school. The definition of a good citizen is someone who follows laws, practices national respect and contributes to society in a productive and positive way. The whole point of the Act is to persuade these good students to continue their positive and productive way of life throughout our country. If anything, these illegal immigrants are an example for legal citizens who do not realize how nice they have it.
In addition to being able to extend their education through college, students benefiting from the DREAM Act will be able to get a decent job, join the U.S. military service, and pick government officials through voting. Immigrants most of the time are left with settling for a low end job without the future of any promotion. This would frustrate anyone, especially a well educated and devoted person. This dead end sometimes drives people to other endeavors to make up the difference which could lead to crime or illegal acts. Our country is always talking about how we need more soldiers and committed citizens like the ones who qualify for the DREAM Act could be potential recruits. Just because they might have not been born in the U.S. does not mean they don't love this country as much as any other legal citizen. They are as willing to protect our country's way of life along with the freedoms they would anxiously love to enjoy. There was also an estimated five to seven million undocumented aliens recorded in the 2000 Census living in the U.S. This means that while all are not contributing to society, many would love to get the chance to choose our elected government officials and delegates. It is too often that natural born citizens of America ignore the privileges they receive for living here. If the DREAM Act would be instated, another chapter in the melting pot of U.S. history would be added - one that could prolong American's greatness.
If Arizona's senators and congressmen were to think about what exactly the DREAM Act does, it would be ridiculous to rally against such a rational and virtuous cause. These children had no voice in where their parents moved them. The students, though, took full advantage of the resources available in this country and school system. These ambitious and dedicated students should at least receive U.S. citizenship. If the DREAM Act would be passed, it would benefit Arizona today and in the future."