Two Steps towards a DREAM

By Lauren Snell, CCAO Migration Intern
November 15, 2012

Lauren Snell

When I sit in class at my university, I think about how lucky I am to be able to pursue my interests and studies. I realize how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to call myself a college graduate in less than a year.

However, I also think about others who have the ability to do the same thing but are held back by circumstances that they did not create. Although, I am grateful that the President’s Executive Order of Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has been issued, I still hope that the DREAM Act will be passed across the United States of America.

We as a community have gotten closer to this goal through a popular vote in Maryland on election night. By Marylanders saying yes to Question 4 on the ballot, undocumented students can now go on to obtain their bachelor’s degrees at Maryland public universities and pay in-state tuition.

I do not believe it is right to hold back young individuals who have the passion and drive to succeed in the United States, especially if the United States is the place they call home. As human beings with the capacity to know what is just and what is unjust, I think the choice is simple; let undocumented students continue to DREAM.

Pope Benedict XVI said on the 2012 Day of the Migrant that “Faith and hope are inseparable in the hearts of many migrants, who deeply desire a better life and not infrequently try to leave behind the ‘hopelessness’ of an unpromising future.”

CCAO Intern Lauren Snell and Journalist Jose Antonio Vargas

On November 9th, I went to a march for Campaign for an American Dream (CAD) and saw the application of Pope Benedict  XVI’s words in action . I listened to several undocumented students tell their stories of adversity and determination to make the DREAM Act a reality. Many of them did not know they were undocumented until they applied for federal aid for college or tried to obtain their driver’s license.

Additionally, I had the great honor of meeting Pulitzer Prize Winner Jose Antonio Vargas who wrote an article two years ago about being an undocumented person in the United States and the shared struggle of reaching citizenship, like other DREAMers.

Overall, the speakers that I heard would not let the current political legislation stop them from fighting for their futures; for them, change is possible if you speak up, act, and not permit others to decide the future without your consent.

These undocumented youth are members of our community. They deserve the right to citizenship. I hope that one day soon that all universities, both public and private, welcome undocumented youths with open arms, knowing that within each of these individuals lay immeasurable potential to better our communities and themselves. I have faith that undocumented youths will legally find their place in society because a true community supports its members, through the good and the bad, and does not discriminate. In a true community, there is not a divide between “Us” and “The Other”. There is only “We”. And WE have to allow the most vulnerable to gain strength and stability from OUR love and support to enact the DREAM Act.