Chasing this “American Dream”: forging a path to equality


1 out of every 4 students in the USA is an immigrant. Not being a resident or citizen in the U.S means that there are restrictions with job opportunities, FAFSA/student loans, scholarships and health care insurance. On June 15, 2012, people who came to the United States as children were given the opportunity to be considered for deferred action, providing they met specific guidelines.

The bill that was passed is called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), and is also part of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). The purpose of both is to give more opportunities to people residing in the U.S illegally. If qualified, they are also given the opportunity to receive many benefits that would not be open to them as immigrants.

DREAMers, as they are referred to, become eligible for working permits, their own social securities, healthcare, and can get their learner’s permits/driver’s licenses. They can financially support themselves and their families by getting a job.

Having your own social security means developing a credit history, which can help DREAMers buy homes and cars. The cost for one doctor’s or emergency room visit is often times too high for families to pay. Many undocumented families refuse to take their kids and themselves to regular dentist and doctor’s visits because it is so pricey.

Because of DACA, receiving insurance is now a possibility. Being able to drive, especially when having to travel far distances, is crucial. DREAMers are able to get their permits and licenses which not only allows them to drive but they can also travel within the U.S.

There are many DACA students in our own community at NCC. Wendy Marroquin, a student at Norwalk Community College, says that DACA has helped her get a stable job where she can work legally and have the opportunity to grow and pursue a career.

“Life without DACA would mean getting payed under the table and not paying taxes. Living the ‘american dream’ would be difficult to accomplish,” Marroquin said.

Karla Carrillo, a student at Norwalk Community College, says that DACA has positively influenced her life.

“I can apply to any place for a job and am now eligible for healthcare. I’m grateful for the DREAM Act because I have options I didn’t have before,” Carillo said.

Things suddenly became a little easier for these candidates who were part of the Dream Act but they still don’t have everything they need. Marroquin and Carrillo are two of the many DACA students who are denied financial aid because their social security is not valid to complete the application.

DREAMers can’t use their social security to apply for financial aid.

Many students struggle with how they pay for their education post-high school and end up having to rely on either scholarships or paying out of pocket. All DREAMers want is to attend school at an affordable price and get the same opportunities that Americans have.

The DREAMers are just as qualified as citizens. The only difference between them is that they don’t have the same legal rights since they weren’t born in the U.S.

Although there are restrictions with DACA, there is no doubt that it offer many positive opportunities.

The future is very bright for undocumented people. Since the majority of them are latinos, they are succeeding through college and making a difference in their communities. And they’ve all come here for one thing: to chase the ‘American dream.’

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