The DREAM Act was first introduced to the U.S. Congress in 2001. It has yet to become a law, but if it does it will provide a pathway to citizenship to approximately 1.8 million undocumented individuals, known as DREAMers, who entered the United States as children--unaware that they would not be able to adjust their immigration status as adults. Read the guide below and slam on how the DREAM Act will impact the lives of millions of teens!
- What. Imagine. You grow up in the U.S. and attend U.S. schools for your whole life. You speak perfect English. But you can’t attend college because you’re not eligible for federal financial aid and you can’t work legally in the country that you call home. This is the reality for DREAMers. It doesn’t matter if they're the valedictorian, the star of the track team, or a tech wizard. No matter how hard they try, most DREAMers cannot change their situation unless the DREAM Act becomes a law.
- Who. DREAMers live under a dark cloud of fear because for years their voices have been silenced. But they have started to speak up and use their powerful narratives as a way to protest injustices both them and their families. Check out Undocumenting and UndocuQueer for just some examples of DREAMers speaking out.
- Why. On June 15, 2012 the Obama Administration announced Deferred Action to DREAMers. This allows eligible DREAMers to work legally in the U.S. for a period of two years. There are a number of requirements that make Deferred Action difficult to attain and under no circumstances does it grant pathway to citizenship. Deferred Action is a small step, but it is simply not enough!
- Speak Up! Do you want to support DREAMers? Write a poem and tell us at Power Poetry your thoughts about the DREAM Act! Post on Facebook and Tweet your poems to your representative and senators (and us, too), and to the youth-led organizations below who are fighting for the passage of the DREAM Act. If you’re in NYC, write your poem and then perform it at the New York State Youth Leadership Council’s (NYSYLC) Undocu Mic on June 30th! And if you’re a DREAMer in any state (not just NY) share your story with NYSYLC!
- Inform, Act. You have the facts and the knowledge! Do not stop here! Continue your research and fight for what is right! There are various organizations that fight on a daily basis against this struggle!
*Thanks to Angy at the New York State Youth Leadership Council and our (awesome) intern Aurelis for writing this slam!
(Just Some) Supporters of the DREAM Act: