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Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act provides legal and permanent citizenship to individuals, who have lived in the United States for a reasonable period that exceeds five years.
According to the act, people, who travelled to the United States as minors and were below 16 years during their entry into the country or under 35 years during its enactment, benefit from its provisions. The act states that provided the individuals engage in good behavior, they qualify for a permanent citizenship in the country.
Evidently, a number of scholars have advanced arguments concerning the issues of self-interest, American ideologies, majorities, and legislative dynamics, long and short-term interest, public opinion, and common good. It is imperative to assert that, while some debates support the act, others oppose it.
Therefore, the essay discusses the debates advanced by scholars concerning the DREAM Act using issues such as self-interest, American ideologies, majorities, and legislative dynamics, long and short-term interest, public opinion, and common good.
Proposers of the Act
From the perspective of those individuals, who support the act, they argue that it is very essential in minimizing the issue of self-interest. In their assertion, they explain that the act minimizes instances where the majority enjoys the benefits in the country, whereas the needs of the minority fail to materialize.
According to Barreto and O’Bryant, the act champions for the rights of the minority and immigrants in the country, and hence, encourages promotion of diversity (119).
As a result, the act is very practical in the development of the country. Fundamentally, by ensuring that the immigrants get permanent citizenship, their full potential materializes, and as such, the issue of achieving the best from the country’s citizens becomes successful.
Some of the long and short-term interests that the act facilitates include increasing employment opportunities, amount of labor, gross domestic product, and investment in the country.
While the long-term interests comprise increased gross domestic product and amplified investment, short-term interests include high employment opportunities and augmented amount of labor in the United States.
Lopez and Lopez state that when immigrants receive permanent resident status in the country, their potential becomes effective and optimal (70). As a result, the performance and investment increases, a factor that leads to high job and employment opportunities in the country.
The implication of high job opportunities and investment levels is increased gross domestic product and effective achievement of development goals in the country. In essence, the scholars argue that the act aims to reduce the issue of self-interest and encourage adoption of public opinion and common good in the country.
Opinions of Scholars Opposing the Act
On the other hand, the individuals, who oppose the act elucidate that it has demerits that outweigh its benefits. The scholars explain that the act increases resentment and selfishness in the country because it creates a feeling of unfair treatment and double standards among the majorities.
Welner and Chi assert that according to the scholars, the act elevates the intensity of immigration in the United States and eventually, the majorities in the country can become marginalized (183).
In their argument, the scholars highlight that in the process of implementing the provisions of the act, the country can underscore the high rates of unemployment experienced by the majorities and encourage immigrant investment and employment.
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Since the act proposes that the immigrants can receive permanent residency even after committing a crime, scholars note that it may increase the number of illegal gangs in the country.
In the perspective of the opponents of the DREAM Act, they explain that it has several long and short-term effects on the country’s development. Increased wage bill and high levels of unemployment are some of the short-term effects.
In addition, low investment from the residents, increased self-interest, and racism are some of the long-term effects that the act can initiate in the United States (Sharma and Gielen 110; Tocqueville and Goldhammer 749).
Since the act encourages increased immigration, an influx of immigrants increases the population and results in an ultimate rise in the number of people in need of employment. Therefore, the amount of resources required to meet the rising employment needs augments significantly and translates into a considerable wage bill.
In the long term, the residents in the country can engage in low investments, as the act facilitates increased investment from immigrants. Eventually, the residents can develop some kind of resentment towards the immigrants and incidences of racism can increase.
DREAM Act is one of the acts that focus on increasing the number of immigrants in the United States. The act encourages permanent citizenship to those immigrants, who travelled into the country as minors or those under the age of 35 during its enactment.
While the act presents a number of merits such as increased investment, employment, and augmented labor, it has various drawbacks like increased resentment, augmented self-interest, discouragement of resident investment, high wage bill, and amplified rates of unemployment.
The various merits and demerits presented by the act have led to a number of debates from scholars, who oppose or support it.
Barreto, Amílcar, and Richard O’Bryant. American Identity in the Age of Obama, New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Lopez, Maria ,and Gerardo Lopez. Persistent Inequality: Contemporary Realities in the Education of Undocumented Latina/o Students, New York: Routledge, 2010. Print.
Sharma, Dinesh, and Uwe Gielen. The Global Obama: Crossroads of Leadership in the 21st Century, New York: Routledge, 2013. Print.
Tocqueville, Alexis, and Arthur Goldhammer. Democracy in America, New York: Library of America, 2004. Print.
Welner, Kevin, and Wendy Chi. Current Issues in Education Policy and the Law, Charlotte: Information Age Pub, 2008. Print.