By Inger Eberhart, March 9, 2020
If you were a DREAMer … you would have access to development, relief, and education opportunities because you’re an alien minor (DREAMer); you were illegally brought into the country by your parents. Sympathetic “immigrant” organizations would plead on your behalf because you are an “undocumented immigrant.” They would petition their supporters, donors, and legislators about your plight. You need educational justice, and you deserve access to higher education.
If you were a DREAMer … your story would be featured in a crisply-worded blog post of an immigrant organization. The story would begin with your scholastic achievement and how you graduated at the top of your class. Your story would next explain how you applied to college, got accepted, but could not take as many classes as you wanted, because you could not go to school fulltime, even still, the school you now attend wasn’t your first choice. Although you grew up in the state, you would be required to pay the out-of-state tuition rate. Of course, this rate would be almost four times the rate of in-state tuition.
If you were a DREAMer … your story would represent thousands of similar students in your situation. Organizations would expound on your plight by stating that the tuition barrier to higher education places you at risk for a lower income, poorer health, shorter life expectancy, exposure to more crime, possibility of incarceration, and less participation in civic and community activities.
If you were a DREAMer … these immigrant organizations, supported by individuals and corporations, would send funded lobbyists to plead on your behalf at the state capitol. If there were particularly intransigent legislators, you would be invited to share your story with them during a House or Senate committee meeting. These legislators would contort themselves and their campaign trail promises to ensure you received the “Relief” you deserved.
Because you’re not a DREAMer … you won’t receive an invitation to plead for “Relief” before representatives and senators in committee hearings. You won’t have the opportunity to share your story of struggle and hardship just to make it to college. No one will travel the halls of the state capitol to lobby on your behalf.
Because you’re not a DREAMer … you will simply risk the possibility of lower income, poorer health, shorter life span, crime, and less civic and community engagement. Although you represent thousands of other students, you, alone, must find a way to scale the tuition barrier.
Because you’re not a DREAMer … no one will read a crisply-worded blog post about your story of the hardships you endured to graduate at the top of your class or just to graduate. You also were not admitted to your first choice of a university. You will work fulltime to pay for the in-state tuition rate. You want to take more classes, but you simply can’t afford it.
Because you’re not a DREAMer … you and your family subsidized the K-12 education, medical costs, and housing costs for those in the country in violation of our immigration laws.
Because you’re not a DREAMer … your plight does not get a name, an organization, and recognition.
Too bad … you’re not … a DREAMer.