I'm an American
I'm an American, just like you. I was raised in the U.S. I grew up among other Americans. I went to school with Americans. I had my first crush and kiss with an American. I'm an American by heart, but not by papers. Life is hard when you grow up in a house of three where the only one that works is your cancer-survivor mother because both her children are still in school, and the only one old enough to work cannot get a job because he doesn't have papers. It's hard to survive when you know that everything you do is going to be in vain because no matter what I do, at the end it won't matter. It is hard to say that you will do better in life when there is no light at the end of your tunnel. It is difficult to keep your head up when people try to put you down because they don't know what its is like to be in this situation, and yet, our heads stay up. It's not easy to imagine a better future because our dreams have been deferred. My teachers taught me so much throughout the years and now I can't repay them.
I never knew what I really was. I thought I was just like you. I went to school with you, I spent nights at your house as child, you spent nights in my house too. I fought your enemy because you were my friend, and you fought mine for the same reason. Now the years have passed, and you see me as an enemy, while I still see you as my friend. 10 years have passed. You went to college, and I was glad for you, but I had to stay home. You asked me why I didn't go to college, or wonder why I didn't get a scholarship and you did when we had the same grades, we possessed similar skills, we recited the same pledge of allegiance, and sang the same Spangled Star Banner. Neither you or I knew the truth, but now I do. When we turned 15 we had to same goal, to get our permit. Your birthday came a month before mine, and after an hour you received yours, now it was my turn. After 15 minutes of filling out papers I found out the truth. Not only I wasn't able to get a permit, I also wasn't able to get my life together. I told you I failed my test, so you wouldn't judge me. Two years passed, now we're planning our future together. We look for colleges to go to, and apply to them all because we have the grades, the ACT scores, and knowledge to enter any college we want to, and yet, only you get accepted. I told you I didn't get accepted because they got my transcript wrong and the admission deadlines ended when I know I didn't get accepted because I don't have 9 things you do, numbers. We're slowly separating. You have made your future a good one, while I wait for my future to be made day after day while I leave in fear that I will be taken to a place where I don't belong, to a country I never knew, to a country that I don't understand and all because my parents were from there. My past is a mystery. I don't know my past, nor I can see my future. I live in the present, trying to survive day after day the best I can.
Now, as I walk the streets during the day, with a smile on my face, I salute my neighbors, help my fellow classmates with their college applications, or even job interviews. I do my duty as a citizen, just like my JROTC commander taught me when I was in school. I wanted to serve the country, I took my ASVAB, scored an 81. The country wanted me, I felt content, until the meeting day came. From the Army to the Air Force came to my apartment and after 15 minutes of talking, they left with a disappointed face. That didn't stop me however. Now I sit at home every night, because I can't go with you to the club, to the movies, or even out of state to discover new places because I still don't have an ID, despite the fact that you and I are the same age. Slowly my life seems to be coming to and end. I'm losing hope. My diploma is on my wall, and so are my graduation gowns. Life is hard, I have no money, can't get a job, despite that I graduated with honors and a 3.8 GPA and three languages, and can't find shelter, food, or services for tomorrow. The streets don't welcome me either. I can't afford to homeless, or else I will be in risk to get deported if I am caught by police for sleeping under a bridge, or on a bench. There is little I can do, but I do it. I keep my head up most of day, but at night while you sleep on your bed, I cry and pray to God in the park that something will change because I don't know how much longer I can take.
I have always been a proud person, and I will not take your money (not like if I can for I can't receive government help anyways). All I ever wanted was to have the same chance you were given. We were always equal, now I'm less, while the only thing that changed was our age. I had dreams, I had hopes, I had visions, just like you, like everyone else, and I'm really glad to hear that you made great things with your life, but sadly your opinion towards immigrants changed because there are people out there ruining the name of immigrants.
Although the light of hope in my eyes was deeming, I can now see it again. I'm not alone. Every year, about 4,300,000 students will graduate. Out of those, only 60 percent, or about 2,580,000 will want to attend college, and out of that about 65,000 undocumented students will want, but won't be able to go due to lack of money, or because they have lost hope and colleges denies them the opportunity simply because although they have the grades, the lack a social security number . That is the case to about 1 out of 38 students.
There is hope for this students now. It is called the DREAM ACT. The bill was introduced last year by Senator Richard J. Durbin. (for more info about the DREAM ACT go HERE ).
However, society has made up their mind now day that all immigrants are the same. ThE DREAM ACT will not focus on anyone else but the people that have done good for the country you love because they love it too. The Dream ACT will not reward immigrants with money or scholarships, it will just make it fair game for anyone who deserves it to apply. Just because they apply doesn't mean that they will get it. It will also benefit the economy because it will increase the number of honest people that will pay their taxes. We're not talking about people like the ones that stand outside of Lowe's waiting for someone to give them something to do and work under the table, we're talking about students that spend their time helping the community and making good deeds because they grew up doing so their whole life in the United States and know nothing about the country the parents were from.
People often make the misconception that the DREAM ACT is going to help every immigrant in the county and that it will increase immigration, but that's not the case because the DREAM ACT will on focus on students that came to the US before the age of 16 and have been in the country for at least 5 years before the bill is passed. That means any student that graduated or is still in school but came before the year 2005 will get a chance to apply for temporary residency, lasting 6 years, and in the meantime they will have to either attend college for a minimum of two years and get a degree or join the armed forces for at least two years. Failure to do so will result in losing residency or even deportation, so it is a win-win situation for the country because they'll get rid of the lazy ones, and keep the smart ones that will contribute to society.
Another big misconception that people in society make about the DREAM ACT is that after 6 years they will become citizens. In all reality, after 6 years they will be able to apply for citizenship, but the process make take up to even another 5 years, and in cases, even 10. That means that if a student graduates high school at the age of 18 and receives conditional residency, he will be 24 before he can apply for citizenship, and will be at least 29 to 34 before he is a citizen. Along with this goes the misconception that these people will later want to fix their parents papers. The problem with that is that in average a 30 year old will have parents in the 50s to 60s. Now, lets add another 5 to 10 years for citizenship. The adults will be 55 to 65 before they get a social security number, meaning that they have no funding for the government to give them retirement money. So these old people will not depend on the country, but their children to support them and look after them.