Today is a day to be celebrated.
Jerry Brown annouced that he is signing into law the anticipated Dream Act. The plan is for him to meet with Assemblyman Gilbert Cedillo this afternoon at Cal State LA for an announcement and speech to follow. This legislation is monumental in the fight for the rights of undocumented people.
In the past, college student who were undocumented were able to pursue a degree, but were denied crucial financial aid, and their degrees weren't considered valid after they graduated. Despite being educated, employers wouldn't recognize their credentials.
With the Dram Act in effect, undocumented young people have the opportunity to get on a path to citizenship if they either enlist in the military or better yet, complete a degree program in college. Not only is this beneficial in assisting a marginalized people in gaining some upward mobility, but educating a larger portion of a population normally mired by poverty will greatly improve our relationships and strengthen our social fabric. America needs more educated people in the work force. We need to eliminate poverty. Giving these people a chance at fully integrating into American society and contributing either with brain or brawn (in the case of the military) will forge a greater sense of unity within our community and self-dignity.
There are some stipulations to the bill.
- The individual must have entered the states prior to being 16-years- old.
- Must be between 12-35 upon application
- Must have lived in the U.S. for five consecutive years
- Have a "good moral character" (Too vague if you ask me)
- Must be a high school graduate or at least have a GED
This legislation was in the pipe for years. Beginning in 2009, the Dream Act was drafted by Senator Richard Durbin and Representative Howard Berman. Though not in effect at the Federal level, California's passage marks a huge milestone in the advancement of our society. We can look towards coming together as a people and helping one another along with promoting personal and cultural growth.
Today is a happy day.