This is one in a series of stories about Eugene/Springfield and the Afghanistan and Iraq wars produced by students in Dan Morrison's NewsLab class at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. Morrison embedded with Marines in Helmand province in August 2010.
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, is a segment of proposed federal legislation that would give undocumented students who graduate from United States high schools and fulfill decreed requirements an opportunity to receive conditional indefinite residency.
mandates that the undocumented student must have maintained, “good moral character during the entire period the alien has been a conditional permanent resident,” alongside one of three choices:
- Acquire “a degree from an institution of higher education,” or be in good-standings for two years within a “higher degree” program.
- Serve “in the Armed Forces of the United States for at least 2 years and, if discharged, has received an honorable discharge.”
- Complete “at least 910 hours of volunteer community service in a program of an organization that has been determined to be eligible to receive funds from the Combined Federal Campaign.”
Some Americans fear the passing of this act would soften the immigration policy within the United States, therefore attracting more illegal immigration by default.
But supporters of the Act believe that its legislative approval would not hurt the economy, but help it.
“These kids are a great resource for our society,” says Jorge Navarro of Community Alliance of Lane County. “These are our kids, raised in our great schools.”
“Military recruiters are targeting them,” says Navarro. “They need to know that if they are signing up for the military, there is no two years, no four years, but about eight, maybe more, involved with their contract.”
“We’re not saying, ‘don’t join the military.’ What we are saying is: before you join the military, to really get some advice, really have a clear understanding of what you are saying yes to,” he said.