Wasted Talent and Broken Dreams

For my communication rhetoric class I had to write a speech about a non-profit organization that I’m passionate about and recite it in front of the whole class for under 3 minutes. Crazy as it sounds and after multiple revisions and editing, I managed to crunch down my speech for the time limit. I decided to write my speech about LULAC but most importantly the North Texas Dream Team which I’m part of. The cause of course was the Dream Act. Below is my speech:

Wasted Talent and Broken Dreams

By Elizabeth Zamora

Imagine if you didn’t have the right to live in the country where you grew up.

Imagine that you couldn’t work or drive.

Imagine you couldn’t apply for a state ID or get on an airplane.

Imagine you could be deported to a country you don’t remember.

These are some of the obstacles undocumented students face when they graduate from high school and turn 18 without legal status.

According to the Immigration Policy Center, there are approximately 2.1 million undocumented children and young adults, who were born outside the U.S. and raised in this country. These young individuals are educated in American Schools, hold American values, know only the United States as home and who, simply by turning 18, become “illegal” immigrants. It is against the law to work or drive without papers and it is difficult, if not impossible in some states, to attend college.

Currently, there is no path to citizenship for these young people.

Julieta Garibay, an undocumented immigrant has been a licensed, bilingual, registered nurse in the state of Texas since 2004. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in nursing and a Master’s of Science in nursing from the prestigious University of Texas at Austin. Julieta first arrived to the United States at age 12 and is now 30 years old; and although she is no longer a child, she needs the DREAM ACT now more than ever in order for her to practice her profession.

In 2001 the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, also known, as the DREAM ACT was first introduced to the Senate. On September 21, 2010 the DREAM ACT which was incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act failed by 4 votes. Just 4 votes! This time around on November 16, 2010, Obama and many Democrats have now called to re-introduce the DREAM ACT as a standalone bill into the House by November 29th.

Today, I wear my “I support the DREAM ACT” button to educate you on what is going on with the DREAM ACT.

Now you may be asking yourself “why should I care?” or perhaps “why should I help if they’re here illegally?” and if you are asking yourself this, it’s ok. At some point or another we all have asked ourselves these questions, even myself, but the reality is that if we don’t care this problem will continue and will have no end.

By getting involved with the North Texas DREAM Team you can help pass the DREAM ACT. Once passed undocumented students will have to abide by several qualifications. Bill S.3827 states that undocumented students will have to show proof that they have been in the United States before the age of 16; must be under the age of 35; been physically present in the United States for a period of at least 5 years once the bill passes; have earned a high-school diploma or its equivalent; have been a person of good moral character; and have no criminal record or danger to national security.

In addition to these qualifiers undocumented students must also satisfy one of two requirements within the 6 years of being granted conditional status. The first is to earn a 2-year degree from a U.S. institution of higher education or complete at least 2 years of a bachelor’s degree program. The second is to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces for at least 2 years.

This is more than a piece of legislation to undocumented youth.

This is their life.

This is the opportunity for them to live in freedom and not fear.

The DREAM ACT upholds the American values such as freedom, equality and opportunity, which are denied to the undocumented student population and have instead been defined and confined as lawbreakers when it is the law that wishes to break them.

By supporting the DREAM ACT you will help strengthen the American economy. On average, college graduates earn approximately a million dollars more in lifetime earnings than a high school dropout, which equals more tax dollars for the state.

By supporting the DREAM ACT you will help strengthen the American Armed Forces. The military will have the opportunity to enlist hundredths of thousands of highly qualified men and women.

Doesn’t everyone deserve the right to an education?

Doesn’t everyone deserve the right to achieve the American Dream?

Your action is needed more than ever. It’s needed now.

We don’t need people to just approve of the DREAM ACT by talking about it; we need people to support the dream act by taking action.

The time is now and action is quite simple; it requires you to send a letter, to send a fax, to send a postcard or make a call to your elected officials telling them to support the DREAM ACT. To making a phone call is very simple; just call (202) 225-3121. Once you are transferred to your elected official through your zip code, tell them that it is time to turn this ten-year struggle in to a victory and to pass the DREAM ACT.

Thank you.

Cited Sources

Bosque, Melissa Del. “Children of the Exodus What Becomes of Kids Who Are Deported without Their Families?” Texas Observer. Texas Democracy Foundation, 4 Nov. 2010. Web. 22 Nov. 2010.

“S. 3827–111th Congress: Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2010.” GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation). 2010. November 22, 2010

“The DREAM Act.” Immigration Policy Center. 18 Nov. 2010. Web. 22 Nov. 2010. http://www.immigrationpolicy.org/just-facts/dream-act.

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