More than 700,00 people in the United States are in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. Recently a bill was introduced to reconsider the Dream Act and essentially allow DACA recipients to gain citizenship.
DACA provides work permits for people who were brought to America at a young age. This allows immigrants to work legally in the country under an umbrella of security.
To be eligible for DACA, recipients must not have any felony charges and have lived in the United States before they turned 16. The proposed Dream and Promise Act of 2019 would allow dreamers to receive full and permanent citizenship.
Cynthia Castro from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, is 26 years old and received DACA in 2013. She is going back to school for her bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Castro explained that in order to continue her education, she would need citizenship.
“It’s not only benefiting my own life, but my career in wanting to be an attorney,” Castro said.
Laura Contreras, an immigration attorney, said that this pathway of citizenship for dreamers is long overdue.
“This should have been done in 2006 for people who have DACA. They have their whole life here,” Contreras said. “They have attributed their whole lives to our economy, and it will only strengthen if this bill gets passed.”
To be eligible for citizenship under the Dream and Promise Act, immigrants must have completed at least two years of higher education. This would also allow for students under DACA to receive financial aid.
Castro explained that going to school is very difficult because she is not receiving financial aid or scholarships available for DACA recipients. The proposed bill would give more opportunities for self-improvement through education despite financial aid.
Dreamers all around the country are continuing to work as hard as they can to prove they deserve the lives in America of which they have always dreamed.
By Maria Teixeira