Last night, I heard Dr. William Perez speak about the issues of undocumented students and the challenges they face. This has been on my mind lately.
I heard an interview with a family on WNYC radio last week. The kids were born here, but the parents were here illegally – I forget where they were from, but it did not sound like a good time. The little girl said something like, “I heard my parents talking in Arabic and they said a word I didn’t know. I looked it up and learned it meant ‘deported’ – that’s how I found out they were here illegally.” The parents are being deported and can choose if the children go back with them or not. So much for anchor babies.
Comparatively to children who immigrated here illegally, the above child has it easy. Imagine you were brought here when you were three years old. You go to school and the day you bring home the SAT application and ask your parents for your social security number… that’s when you find out. You’re here illegally and unless you can change your status, your future is in serious jeopardy at best.
Dr. Perez talked about living a life I never imagined in my dizziest nightmares – imagine trying to deal with issues like this while you were going to college… it’s almost too much to think about. Yet the data shows that many students in this situation do well in school and go on to be productive members of society.
In 2010, The Dream Act failed in the US Senate by 5 votes, but many states have enacted similar laws already. We’re getting closer to where we need to be, but we aren’t there yet. Hell, even Governor Rick Perry of Texas supports similar legislation in his home state, and he apparently never goes jogging without a gun.
Dr. Perez’s book, We are American: Unfulfilled Dreams, drops in November – I plan on picking it up.