With an uncertain fate facing immigration reform in Congress, young people who arrived in the United States when they were just children are attempting to win residency in the nation that they consider to be their home.
Known as Dreamers, in relation to the DREAM Act that would have allowed them to receive US citizenship if it had passed through Congress, there now seems to be a chance that their dreams will become a reality. President Barack Obama has put into place a temporary system that allows them to get work papers and out of the 573,404 people who applied, as many as 430,236 are qualified to take advantage of it. In order to be eligible they had to be under the age of 31, have graduated high school, arrived in the US before the age of 16, pay a processing fee of $426, and have no criminal record.
Now these Dreamers want a law to be passed by Congress to ensure that these arrangements are made permanent and are orchestrating their own attention-grabbing campaigns in order to achieve this goal. Despite having been raised in the United States, a lot of these young Latin Americans are nonetheless unable to open a bank account, get a driver’s license, receive scholarship funding or even legally work, and as a result have become the most successful advocates for immigration reform, according to polling firm Latino Decisions co-founder Gerry Segura.
“They are really helpful at making the immigration cause more palatable,” Segura notes. “And the more acceptable it is to general Americans, the more likely that Congress would be to eventually vote.”