DREAM Act more complicated than you think

Robin Shin, Online Editor

The DREAM Act may not have passed yet, but when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was enacted on Aug. 15, 2012, it was an enactment given to DREAMers to be pardoned from deportation and given the opportunity to stay for two years with a work permit. While it was enacted, many people were misinformed or uninformed of DACA.

DACA does not offer a path to a green card or citizenship.

“DACA is not a law, it is a policy,” stated Shohreh Rahman, the BC International students’ counselor “There is no appeal process, once denied, You are completely denied.” DACA is form I-821D, and it too has requirements a DREAMer or an applicant needs to fit in order to apply for one. You can meet those requirements provided you have or are: under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012, came to the United States before the 16th birthday, present in the United States on June 15, 2012 and at the time filing your application.  These are just few of the requirements must fit in order to apply for the DACA.  You can find more about DACA on www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.

Many DREAMers, a group of undocumented youths who support the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act or also known as AB 540, were disheartened when the U.S. Senate failed to pass the DREAM Act back on Dec. 18, 2010. This act would have provided undocumented young women and men the pathway to U.S. citizenship if they were attending college and/or performing military service.

There are qualifications in order to be eligible for the DREAM Act: entering the United State before the age of 15, continuously living in the United States for at least five years, earned a high school diploma or GED, accepted and attending college or university, has good moral character and being 35 years or younger on the date of enactment.

“We are encouraging students to apply for DACA,” stated Rahman, “to take advantage of this enactment.” Rahman stated that there are currently almost 11.2 million undocumented people in the United States who are from Asia, Mexico, Central America, South America, Caribbean and the Middle East. These people were born outside of the United States and entered either without any form of documentation or through human trafficking.

“Undocumented students are almost always frustrated,” said Rahman when questioned about the students, “mostly depressed and often hopeless.  Many describe their continuing experiences living in fear and going through nightmares.  Their fear is that immigration agents would eventually catch up with them and would deport them along with their parents.”

Rahman stated that there are estimated to be 1.5 to 2.5 million undocumented children who are under the age of 18.

“65,000 students [undocumented] graduate yearly from high school,” stated Rahman “and 49% of those 65,000 students attend college.”

Applying for a DACA for a qualifying applicant will need to pay the fee of approximately  $1,000.  It is also only enacted for the time limit of four years.  As of current date, it is unknown what will happen after it expires in 2016.

“Through this policy, it is hoped that undocumented youth will be motivated to pursue their education and complete a degree, while empowering them to land jobs in their field of studies that they may have already completed,” said Rahman. “They also could have the opportunities to apply for driver’s licenses, apply for state financial aids (not federal grants), and travel outside of the U.S.”

“It [DACA] allows you to work while at school,” she said.

“This could really open up new avenues for these youths, which were previously unknown to them.”