Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Opinion Piece

-by Claudia Teruel.

The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) is a  policy that if passed, will give legal status to millions of illegal students that in the present have no access to government aid. According to an Article posted in El Paso Times, “15,000 undocumented immigrants in El Paso area can apply for deferred deportation,” all of which are illegal students who would not be able to go to college unless they gather the requisites required to participate under the deferred program.  Therefore, it is important to implement measures that would allow for a policy chance that would permit students to pursue their education once they collect all the requisites to apply for the deferred program. Such policy change, will allow undocumented students to receive student loans to be paid back when they graduate from their four year college degree.

One of the provisions to be able to receive the student loan will be to gather all the requisites needed and apply to the Deferred Program. According to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services you may request consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals if you:

  • Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
  •  Came to the United States before reaching your sixteenth birthday;
  •  Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time; 
  •  Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
  •  Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;
  •  Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;
  •  Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The reason why illegal students should be able to receive the student loan is because first, it is required that they maintain a good moral character, so we know they will pay back. Second, because it is required of them that they complete a two or four year college, so finishing their career will be their goal.
According to the Institute Policy Center (IPC), another 6,210 young undocumented immigrants, who are between the ages of 5 and 14 years, could benefit in the future if they graduate from high school, obtain their GED or serve in the country's armed forces. What that means, is that here in El Paso alone, there will be thousands of illegal students that, if able to obtain student loans, will be able to graduate from college, obtain a legal status and therefore contribute to America’s economy.

IPC estimates there are about 1.3 million immediate and future potential beneficiaries in the country. Some 226,700 live in Texas, the second state with the most potential beneficiaries in the country after California. If these students gain legal status, they will be able to contribute nearly $3.6 trillion dollars in tax dollars to the economy over the course of their lifetimes.
By having a legal status and finishing their two or four year college that is required, these students will be able to make much more than minimum wage and will be able to pay back their student loan.
So far only a few details about the application are known, other than the program's launch date and the filing cost. Applicants will need to pay $465, which includes $380 for the employment authorization and $85 for a biometric background check, according to USCIS's website.
Illegal students can obtain information about the application process locally by going to the church in El Paso, Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services, or DMRS, located at 2400 E. Yandell, El Paso TX.
Applicants will need to prove their age and the amount of time they've been in the country, so birth certificates, school transcripts, medical records, rent agreements, and letters from teachers and church pastors might be useful documents to fetch.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service

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