The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act that was halted by President Obama on June 15 brings excitement and worry to citizens.
The DREAM Act helps minors, who were brought to America illegally by their parents, gain citizenship status and work eligibility. Effective immediately, the Department of Homeland Security will now allow qualifying illegal aliens who do not pose as a risk for national security or safety to remain in America rather than be deported back to their home country.
To be eligible, a person must be between 16-30 years of age, currently in school or have earned a GED or high school diploma.
While the act does not solve the issue with illegal immigration by any means, it serves as a ray of hope for those who had no control over over the issue. Individuals will be able now to apply for work authorization.
Jong Yoon, a 21-year-old from Ventura, California is one of these individuals.
Yoon is studying church communications at Biola University in California. According to previous law, his degree would be worthless because he could not get a career without citizenship or a work visa.
“As exciting as this news is, I feel bad” said Yoon. “Trying to be a law abiding citizen, I think it’s hard that (President Obama) bypassed Congress to make this possible. I wish it would have been a whole country decision.”
A BYU student echoed Yoon’s concerns. Thomas Turner, 23, from Beaverton, Ore., said, “The current president says and wants a lot of good things for this country. Actually getting them to happen remains questionable.”
Several BYU students remain unsure of what the president’s orders will actually entail.
The new act for the “DREAMers” was originally proposed over a year ago, but failed to gain support from the Republican Party.
President Obama responded to this at a press conference saying, “The bill hasn’t really changed. The need hasn’t changed. It’s still the right thing to do. The only thing that has changed, apparently, was the politics.”
Scott Howell, the Utah Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, also supports President Obama’s action to improve the immigration policy.
“Those serving in our military, gaining an education or brought to the States as young children, clearly showing they pose no present risk to national security or public safety ought to be given the chance to contribute,” said Howell in a news release.
The Utah Democratic Party showed their support for the act by announcing an additional program to target the Utah Latino community the same day that President Obama announced the DREAM Act. Directed by fellow Latino Melodia Gutierrez, the outreach program seeks to improve voter registration and turnout in Utah.
Utah Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis said in a news release that “Commitments to diversity and equality are central tenets of the Utah Democratic Party, and we are thrilled to put words into action and boots on the ground in support of our diverse communities.”