Crowley: DREAM Act would improve lives of undocumented college students

In 2005, the Immigration Policy Center estimated about 50,000 undocumented students were enrolled in American colleges and universities. That is approximately 0.29 percent of all college students nationwide.

That seems like a small number, but when applying this estimate to the number of students at Syracuse University, 0.29 percent of the student body is roughly 60 students.

Of course, the true number of undocumented students at SU isn’t known. In fact, it is nearly impossible to ascertain without exposing individual students. What’s clear is that there are possibly undocumented students here, as there are nearly everywhere.

As students, it’s easy for us to say that politics doesn’t affect us. Unfortunately, this insular perspective can limit our thinking and deny the complex ways that public policy can change our lives.

Specifically, the proposed DREAM Act — the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act — could possibly change the lives of students on our campus.

The DREAM Act, as previously presented in Congress, would address one of the most heinous problems with our immigration policy. Today, children born in another country and brought here illegally by their parents are treated the same as a person who came to the United States of their own volition.

This policy presents many problems. For instance, it is often the case that children will be brought here as infants and raised entirely in America. They appear to be American; they just don’t have a social security number.

The DREAM Act, if implemented, would help these people by providing them a clear and easy path to citizenship. If they are able to complete a tour of duty in the military or finish a college degree, then they’ll be eligible for citizenship, skipping the decade-long process that is typically required of new citizens.

If ratified, the DREAM Act would allow these individuals to become Americans by serving America — granting them the simple dignity of calling them Americans.

One of them might be your roommate from freshman year, or that kid you took statistics with — one might even be your friend.

The Act is only a first step toward a sensible immigration policy, but it could change the lives of so many young people. Like most of us, they don’t care about politics; they care about finishing school and getting a job. This is not something they could easily do under current law.

So, next time you think politics doesn’t affect you look around. You might see the face of a DREAMer.

Colin Crowley is a senior political science and philosophy major. His column appears online weekly. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter at @colincrowley.

  • Bostonway

    Dream Act = 1) Another magnet to draw illegals into the US. 2) Rewards bad (and illegal) behavior. 3) Will give illegals’ kids in-state tution breaks, yet tax paying US citizens in another state won’t get the break. 4) Makes deporting the illegal parents of the kid unlikley to happen…back-door amnesty. 5) Automatic source of new votes for the Dem’s… the REAL reason behind the Dream Act!

  • JayJayAye

    Colin you’re a smart person who not only thinks of himself but others. I’m glad there are less and less ignorant close-minded people on this earth.

  • Bostonway

    And Jay you are a naive person who… doesn’t respect the laws of this country (they are breaking the law and the DA is a magent for more!), don’t care about the negative impact the hoards of illegals have (e.g., 55,000+ illegals are in US prisons on violent crimes alone, not counting the 100,000’s not caught), don’t even think about the huge tax bill to pay for illegals and their familes ($1B in CA alone), etc, etc. Yea, you and Colin are real smart. Typical feel-good liberals, who have no clue about reality nor care! See the tears of a US citizen in my town who’s kid was killed by an illegal…then maybe you will wake up. Nahh, not possible.

  • JayJayAye

    The citizenship of one does not represent the values a person holds. Good or bad. What about the many citizens of our country who everyday commit crimes? Aren’t they to be mentioned in this idea you have that only “illegals” commit crimes? What about the illegals who don’t commit crimes and aren’t in anyway affecting you? What about the guy in Oregon who just walked inside a mall and killed 3 innocent citizens? (Check the news) Wait he was a citizen and not an illegal. But it doesn’t matter since he is not illegal. He can get a pat on the back and the family’s can mourn from their loved ones who were killed by a citizen. Point is , it doesn’t matter what ones status is. There are always bad people in society.

  • Bostonway

    Get a clue Jay… illegals shouldn’t be here to begin with. Period. If this was true, than they would NOT be committing crimes in the US… not one! So, your ‘always bad people’ argument is not only illogical, but just so moronic!

  • JayJayAye

    Hold that thought because politically speaking this dream act for undocumented students has an almost 100% chance of passing and I believe the educated and non criminals should deserve it. That hit a nerve didn’t it? But like I said. If they are educated and not commiting crimes they should be fine. In the end they also pay taxes, why not let them contribute to society. But the law breaking criminals deserve to be sent back from their place of origin. Wherever that may be. Just like we send the citizens that are criminals to prison in our country. Just take a breath and watch my prediction be true.

  • Bostonway

    Your predcition may be true because the hoards of illegals and their hispanic voting amigos (robots), along with blind liberals like you, will of course overwhelm the Dem vote. How did we get here? Look at weak boarder policies, the birth-right amendment, employers that are breaking the law, and a welfare system that attracts illegals (and legals) fresh tacos and Dos XXX. How do we end up? More illegals every year, greater debt, more welfare, more babies, more crime, and a worse country. Just because it passes, doesn’t make it right. Now put your head back in the sand. I also want you to pay more in taxes to cover the cost of illegals, and tell the family of the dead kid ‘it was a good thing to allow illegals in!’

  • Jenn2011

    Its funny how a lot of people think illegals are all criminals. But that is defiantly not true! I wasn’t born in America, my parents brought me here when i was 2 years old. So i was pretty much raised in America. I didn’t realize my status as an illegals until my senior year in high school. My senior year was the most exciting year because I was graduating as a rank 1 Valedictorian who was admitted into several Ivy League schools as well as other Universities. The problem here was, i couldn’t afford it. I am in my second year at a university, which i am paying with my own money and scholarships, no support from my parents. I understand your point, more taxes for you to pay, but let me be real here. I am illegal, but i still pay taxes. I work in the fields every single day from 3:00 am until 4pm. Then i go to school, which begins at 6pm and my last class ends at 9pm. I have a tin number which allows me to pay for taxes, so i too am contributing to the community, yet, being illegal. I am only 19 years old and this is my everyday living. I do all i can to pay for school, at times i walk on campus with a growling stomach because i don’t have enough for food. But its sad, I get treated like a nobody all the time, hearing the worst names ever. But people just do not realize what i go through everyday. God Bless You!

  • Bostonway

    Hey Jenn,
    So nice that you are a good person, BUT you need to wake up… 1) Illegals are criminals… they broke US laws by being here. 2) 55,000+ illegals in US prisons for violent crimes, 100,000’s more not caught. 3) If they were NOT in the US, none repeat NONE of these crimes would have happened! 4) Huge costs for illegals (welfare, medical, housing) that WE pay for. Get it?!

  • It’s a very timely debate right now. Given the results of the election it appears as if the policy will remain intact. Qualified individuals should speak with an immigration attorney about the process.

  • Bostonway

    Interesting that a US citizen CAN”T get nearly the same freedoms and support if they were in Mexico!

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