The DREAM Act was once a beautiful idea intended to help immigrant children better themselves in the country they were brought to as children but had no rights, no future, and no way to fix the problem they found themselves in.

Children don’t have the luxury of establishing where they would like to live, or even with whom. They are, after all, children, and it’s the parents who make these decisions, and often it’s these parents that make decisions based on hopes, fears or desperation that bring them to our country.

Once a child is brought here illegally, they have no way of fixing the problem short of going back to their home country and applying for a visa, which could take months or years, money, which they usually don’t have, and a place to stay until the mess gets sorted out. Often the child is banned from entering the US for 10 years because of the amount of time they spent in the country illegally. Many times these kids either don’t have any friends or relatives in their home country, don’t know anyone there, don’t speak the language and often, in south american countries, fall victim to gangs. This is a dangerous proposition and most people don’t take this decision lightly. It is often less life threatening to stay here illegally and risk deportation than to go home and get killed, kidnapped, turned into a slave, and more. This is not something we should legislate and make mandatory because it’s the way we think it should be done. This is something that needs a solution that preserves the child’s life, and the life and continuity of their family.

Instead what happens is the child grows up here and is forced to live a life of a third class citizen, not being able to vote, work in anything other than low paying jobs, fall victim to unscrupulous business owners or attend colleges and universities where they could live the life they dream. This happens every day here in America–the land of the free. The land of opportunity, but only if you had the ability to make decisions for yourself.

I’m going to follow the DREAM Act legislation through all of its changes, talk with the people involved and try to make sense of why such a wonderful idea has taken 14 years to get no where. One would think that such a noble cause would elicit many champions. There have been many would be saviors of these children, but there have been just as many villains as well. This expose will take a look at what the DREAM Act really is, why it hasn’t been made into law and who has been spending to much time and energy to stop it.

There will be heroes and villains and many, many tragedies, but most importantly, when we are done, it is my hope that we will understand the problem and be able to effectively solve it and get this bill made into law so that the children of misfortune can become the adults of America, like so many immigrants before them. This is not a strange story, but a familiar one, played over and over again during the entire history of this country. It is a song heard so often we can sing in our sleep, if the words didn’t keep us from fearing to close our eyes in the first place.

Click here for the first installment of  “The DREAM Act From Beginning to End.”

Click here for some infographics covering the same information.

Click here for a list of DREAM Act Heroes and Villains.


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