Each year, Maria Marroquin and others like her receieve their high school diplomas. They dream of future careers as teachers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, policemen or hope to enter the military. However, they are unable to achieve their American dream because they lack a nine-digit social security number.
As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It is an injustice to keep people like Marroquin, who hopes to become a lawyer and earned a 3.98 GPA at Montgomery County Community College, from pursuing the American dream.
On Saturday, March 19, Cabrini students stood in solidarity alongside undocumented youth who revealed their status at the “Undocumented and Unafraid” rally held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
This same group of people is often classified as illegal immigrants.
The Loquitur would like to clarify that no human being is defined by legality. We are defined by our success and that is what these people are trying to accomplish. We invite the campus community to hear us out.
The parents of these undocumented youth came to America for a multitude of reasons. Some came to free themselves from the oppression of the Soviet Union. Others came to escape the extreme poverty in Latin America. But they all came to contribute to America and provide a better life for their children.
However, their children now face a roadblock.
Due to their undocumented status, they are forced to enter local community colleges as international students and pay three times the normal tuition fees out of pocket. This policy puts public and private universities out of their reach financially.
Cabrini students have had a unique opportunity to engage in a civil rights movement to ensure that these students, some of whom have been here as long as native born Americans, are able to fulfill what it is their families came here for.
The Loquitur is inspired by the DREAM Activists and their Cabrini allies. The willingness of these advocates for social justice embodies the mission of the college and St. Frances Cabrini, patron saint of all immigrants.
The Loquitur believes that the entire campus community should put aside the stigmas they hold against those “without papers.” Educate yourselves on the true stories of the people who come to America without proper documentation. Before we accuse those who are undocumented to get in the back of the line, realize that this line we speak of doesn’t exist in many situations.
This is the civil rights movement of our generation. These people are not criminals. They are not deviants. They are Americans through and through.
The DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth, would offer the opportunity to receive an education and pursue the American dream.
They could then obtain a two-year college degree or complete two-years of military service. From there, they can proceed to apply for naturalization. It’s estimated that the DREAM Act would affect between 1.3 to 2.1 million people.
The Congressional Budget Office reported that the current version of the bill would reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion, assuming these students went on to get jobs and pay taxes.
This piece of legislation is not amnesty. It simply provides them an equal opportunity.
On Dec. 18, 2010 the DREAM Act failed to pass the Senate by five votes. Yet, the American dream is far from dead in their hearts and minds. Just as the DREAM Activists are undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic, the Loquitur is unafraid and unapologetic in support of these courageous individuals.