Back of the Yards Youth Share Opinions on “The Will to Dream”
Neighborhood Youth Share their Opinions
During the THE GATE’s youth journalism program, youth participants have been learning how to write reports, read published articles, become aware of issues pertaining to their communities and create their own voice. In the process, we have asked the youth to comment on different articles, while expressing their opinions.
In this particular exercise, the youth wrote letters in response to written pieces related to immigration. We invite you to read some of the youth’s opinions about other authors’ views on the topic and those who are in support or against any form of pro-immigrant legislation.
The Will to Dream
This first piece is in response to an article published on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2010.
Title of Article: DREAM Act Will Equal Nightmare For American Taxpayers by Bishop E.W. Jackson, Sr. – StandAmerica.US
By Carolina Manriquez, Richards Career Academy
Everyone is free to have their own perspective on certain things. Everyone’s point of view is either caused by experiences or simply their own thoughts. It may seem like the right or wrong thing, or the good or bad thing based on how everyone else sees and judges others’ perspective on certain issues. My opinion on the DREAM Act, however, is the opposite of your own.
Immigrants may have entered the United States illegally but they shouldn’t be treated as criminals. It is not a crime to want the best for one’s family. You stated that immigrants are ‘aliens’ but just because they are from another country doesn’t make them some sort of criminal, unidentified creatures.
The immigrants in this country are the ones that take the unwanted jobs while many citizens themselves don’t even dare to work in factories.
I disagree with you about the issue of undocumented students’ access to colleges because undocumented students have working parents that have been paying taxes and have been working hard to be part of this country—just like other immigrant groups have done in the past.
Based on the article ‘A Win Win for America,’ between $1.4-$3.6 trillion in taxable income would be generated for the U.S. economy over a 40-year period if 825,000 to 2.1 million DREAMers successfully achieve legal status. Those opposed in giving immigrants the right to a higher education, could change their mind if they see how it benefits America’s economy.
Just because some people were not born in America does not mean they cannot be successful in this country especially when they were brought here at a young age. Many of the youth who currently ask for the opportunity to go to college didn’t know about the challenges ahead when their parents brought them here.
This second piece is in response to an article published on Friday, July 8 2011.
Title of Article: DREAM Supporters Living in a Fantasy World of Full Employment By Jeremy Beck.
Youth’s Response: By Maria Vera, Thomas Kelly High School
Dear U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan:
I admire you for testifying before Congress and saying that the DREAM Act was necessary since there are not enough U.S. workers to fill available jobs, however, a statement like that during this recession might backfire the argument that you were trying to make regarding the predictions of labor shortage in the year 2018.
Despite this, there should be more leaders who stand up for what they believe.
I’m curious about what made you decide that you wanted to support the DREAM Act as opposed to going against it.
Mr. Duncan, for those who are not in favor of supporting the DREAM Act what would you say to convince them that this is actually a positive piece of legislation?
I ask because during the time when legislators were moving the DREAM Act forward the House of Representatives passed it, but the Senate rejected it. That was an upsetting day for many DREAMers that I know in my community.
If the DREAM Act passed at the federal level, it would have allowed undocumented youth to apply for temporary legal status and be eligible for U.S. citizenship if they go to college or serve for the U.S. military.
Since the bill didn’t pass, nothing has changed. According to America’s Voice Education Fund, it is estimated that each year 65,000 young people who came to the United States illegally graduate high school and apply to college only to find out that they are not eligible to access some of the schools of their choice or even work and contribute to our country’s economy after graduation.
Today, many of my friends, the Dreamers, hope that a similar bill will pass at the federal level in the near future.
As of now, we celebrate the passage of the Illinois DREAM Act.