By May Advincula, Editor-in-chief
In a poll for “Sisters share stories of U.S. citizenship,” we asked for your views on illegal immigrants who currently work in the United States.
57% of respondents said that illegal immigrants should be allowed to work in the US,as long as they apply for citizenship.
29% said that illegal immigrants should be required to leave their job and then apply for US citizenship, while 14% answered that they should be required to leave their job and leave the US.
But what happens to children who were brought to the United States undocumented?
Normally, children who are brought to the country without an immigration visa would have to leave the country to apply for a permanent visa. Even then, returning to their country of birth might detour them to a more difficult path of obtaining permanent residency in the US, encountering barriers such as a three-year to ten-year ban on re-entering the United States.
Current immigration law has “no mechanism to consider the special equities and circumstances of such students,” according to the Center for Community Change. (http://www.communitychange.org/our-projects/firm/our-work/the-dream-act/what-is-the-dream-act)
For undocumented immigrant children who grew up in the United States, legislation called the DREAM Act would address their needs and allow them to obtain permanent residency under certain provisions.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act aims to provide immigration relief to students who were brought to the US more than five years ago when he or she was 15 years old or younger. Upon graduating from high school, the legislation allows them to apply for conditional status which authorizes six years of legal residence. During these six years, the student is then required to either:
1) Graduate from a two-year college
2) Complete two years towards a four-year degree
3) Serve in the US military for two years
Should the student complete any of the above and exemplify good moral character, they would be granted permanent residence.
According to the Center for Community Change, the DREAM Act would also eliminate the federal provision that discourages states from providing in-state tuition to their undocumented immigrant student residents — essentially providing them with full authority over determining college and university fees.
Several forms of this bill have been introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives. Initially introduced the House in 2001 with three co-sponsors, a version of the bill was debated this past September in the Senate.
The bill required 60 votes to gain cloture, a procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter. This would overcome a filibuster, or an attempt to block or delay Senate action on a bill or other matter by debating it at length. This could be done by offering numerous procedural motions, or by any other delaying or obstructive actions.
The bill failed on a 52-44 vote, 8 votes short of overcoming a filibuster.,
The bill still continues to remain under intense debate and many groups have been active in their pursuits to push support for this legislation.
For more information on the DREAM Act, you can visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream_Act
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