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 to learn more about the DREAMers and recent decisions from the government will affect their future.
- 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 for both themselves and their families. Check out Undocumenting and UndocuQueer for just some examples of DREAMers speaking out.
- Why. President Trump has chosen to eradicate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), instituted by the Obama Administration in 2012. This program gave Deferred Action to DREAMers. This temporarily protected eligible DREAMers from deportation and allowed them to work legally in the U.S. for a period of two years. Nearly 800,000 immigrants benefited from this program. Without DACA in place, every individual who was under the protection of the program will lose their jobs and potentially their right to live in the U.S.
- Speak Up! Do you want to support DREAMers? Write a poem and tell us at Power Poetry your thoughts about the DREAM Act and Trump's decision to discard DACA. 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.
- Inform, Act. You now 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 and they need your help to educate others about supporting DREAMers in our country.
*Thanks to Angy at the New York State Youth Leadership Council for helping to write this guide!
(Just Some) Supporters of the DREAM Act: