As I was sitting on the train to work today, I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like if the DREAM Act passed. I know, I know, everyone has written and will write about it, but I’m just telling you this story. I wondered what I would feel like to hear them say that the vote came out in favor of all of these undocumented students who have been in the country just as long as I have, have grown up here and it all being of no fault of their own. Would I be in shock? Would I start to cry? Would I tell everyone in the office, even though they don’t know what it is, except for one other person? Would I be proud? Would I be happy? And while staring out over Chinatown on the orange line, I felt a tightening in my chest, you know that feeling where you are so happy, proud and overwhelmed, and I started to cry.
I didn’t know why I was crying, since nothing has happened yet, but I also knew that it would be one big sigh of relief to finally have something that’s justified for all of these people; my peers. I would finally see old friends of mine, who have been working so hard for this and for coming out of the darkness out of fear, happy.
I have been reading Tweets, blogs, articles about how there is a big chance that the DREAM Act will pass the next time it’s voted on. There are different reasons listed and a lot of talk about this bipartisanship government as well. Even more, there have been advocates all across the country writing and pushing and calling representatives; even those students who have proclaimed that they are “Undocumented and Unafraid.” I commend those students and I know many who have come out to proclaim this statement.
But what happens after this is passed? How much will they charge for paperwork and residency? Will the government take full advantage of the people it’s “helping”? I don’t ever think that the government helps its people, especially since most of the time it’s run like a business. But I do want to know what the next steps would be, especially since we’re so close to some kind of compromise. Where will it all go from there? How hard will they make it for each person to get to the point of permanent residency? Besides there being a massive influx of legitimate workers and fresh military blood, what exactly is laid out for the “path” to citizenship?
According to the DREAM Act Portal, the basics about what to do if the Act should pass are as follows:
If the DREAM Act passes, an undocumented individual meeting those qualifying conditions stated above, would have to do the following:
- Apply for the DREAM Act (Since the legislation has not yet passed, there are no specific guidelines on how to apply)
- Once approved and granted Conditional Permanent Residency, the individual would have to do one of the following:
- Enroll in an institution of higher education in order to pursue a bachelor’s degree or higher degree or
- Enlist in one of the branches of the United States Military
- Within 6 years of approval for conditional permanent residency, the individual must have completed at least two (2) years of one of the options outlined in the previous step
- Once 5 ½ years of the 6 years have passed, the individual will then be able to apply for Legal Permanent Residency (dropping the conditional part) and consequently will be able to apply for United States Citizenship
Those who have already completed at least 2 years of college education towards a bachelor’s degree or higher degree, will still have to wait the 5 ½ years in order to apply for Legal Permanent Residency even though you may have already obtained a degree.
Students who do not complete the requirements will be disqualified.
I love the parentheses in the first point. “There are no specific guidelines on how to apply.” This is what I mean about having the government making it hard or difficult for someone to actually go through with the application. Will there be a huge fee? Will there be a test? This is their chance to completely rob people yet again, especially with the citizenship paperwork fees being so high.
But I suppose I’m jumping the gun, aren’t I? It hasn’t even passed yet and I’m already asking follow-up questions! It’s all right. I just don’t want people to get surprised or pissed when things don’t go as smoothly afterward. It’s like sleeping with your best friend after a drunk night; the morning after is always a giant pill to swallow. I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble, but just be prepared.