California Dream Act Essay

Born and raised here in the U. S. many students, and parents for that matter, are currently struggling with the bills, loans, and the stress of trying to stabilize a healthy future for themselves by pursuing an education. When a law like the California Dream Act is passed, it makes those who have done nothing but follow the rules of our legal system, feel as if the right as a legal citizen is being pushed aside. The money to fund the education of these illegal immigrants has to come from somewhere, causing a bigger whole to burn in tax payer’s pocket; when the money can easily go elsewhere to legal students in dire need of it.

The state of California has always portrayed itself as the “free” state and allowed equal opportunity to everyone, to the point where now legal citizenship does not seem as if it really matters anymore. The California Dream Act may seem as if it is the answer to our educational system but when better dissected we see that with limited funding, we are defying the rights of legal citizens by providing for the education of the undocumented immigrants and bearing the expense of increased taxes and tuition.

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So what exactly is the California Dream Act? The California Dream Act will “allow undocumented immigrants to apply for state-funded scholarships and aid to state universities” (Schools & Degrees). In order for the student to qualify they need to be able to meet certain standards such as entering the state before the age of 16, attend a four year university for a minimum of two years, they must have been on U. S. soil for at least five years, and also be in the process of applying for their citizenship.

What may seem like a dream to most illegal immigrants is what legal citizens might now consider a nightmare. Forget the fact that there is already a limited amount of funds to provide for the legal students, but now our government also wants to pay the expense of illegals as well; isn’t that rewarding those that are breaking the law? By allowing undocumented immigrants to have their schooling paid for, it is going to expand enrollment in schools, resulting in a tuition increase for legal students that are currently paying their way through school.

The chances of getting accepted into colleges are now lowered and maybe even taken away from some legal citizens that have always done everything the “legal” way. Granting equal rights to everyone in California has always been a goal of government officials. However, it must not be forgotten that the rights being granted are to those who have broken the law and in order to grant these rights sacrifices are going to have to be made. Legal citizenship in the United States is given the moment someone is born on U.

S. soil, or it may be acquired through naturalization. Section one of the 14th amendment of the United States Constitution clearly states that: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States” (The United States Constitution).

By enabling the California Dream Act we are allowing undocumented immigrants to purse an education that may result in overcrowding and a reduction of spaces that would have been available to American students. This is where legal rights as a U. S. citizen are invaded. The priority and privilege that Americans receive to continue their education after high school can possibly be reduced due to limited spaces available in the classroom once the state starts allowing undocumented immigrants into colleges.

Assembly man Tim Donnelly stated: “It is absolutely, fundamentally wrong and unfair and it is an insult to people who have worked and played by the rules, including those who have come to this country legally” (Schools & Degrees). Society has always taught Americans to abide by the law and in return rights and privileges are granted that others may not receive. By merit, American’s should not have to worry about whether there will be enough spaces available in colleges, none the less should they have to worry about those spaces been taken up by students who have come to this country illegally.

It goes against the constitution of the United States to diminish the opportunities for American students, by granting schooling to an undocumented immigrant. Enrollment within colleges will soon rapidly expand, and seeing as there is already low funding within school budgets, the money will need to come from somewhere. This is where tax payers come in, along with higher tuitions for students. American students that are not aided with the cost of classes and living expenses are going to be drastically affected, perhaps even to the point of dropping out.

Over the years tuition has “Risen 6. 5 percent from the previous year. These figures do not include room and board costs, which can cost as high as $1,700 a month at some schools” (Salary. com). Tuition is getting difficult for students to pay every year especially with the economic crisis the state of California is currently in. Aside from just tuition increasing, there will still not be enough funds to provide the aid to the undocumented immigrants that plan to enroll in school. Each illegal immigrant who attends a public institution will receive a tuition subsidy from taxpayers of nearly $6,000 for each year he or she attends, for total cost of $6. 2 billion a year, not including other forms of financial assistance they may also receive” (Center For Immigration Studies). The 6. 2 billion a year, if needed, can be used to help American students who are just above the poverty level, but not quite able to afford schooling on their own.

It is one thing when the government of California is increasing our taxes to help out American students in need, but to help pay the way of people who have come to this country illegally is unreasonable to tax payers. Many students who are seeking to further their education that come from another country must become a citizen first and from there they are considered international students. An international student has to pay a fee in order to attend colleges here in the United States, and those fees vary “from $5000 to $30000 per year” (Abroad Education).

Schooling is not cheap, none the less for international students who first have to pay their dues by coming to this country legally. “Current and prospective students who are not documented U. S. citizens could pay the same rates that legal state residents enjoy at public universities. The difference can be steep, with full-time out-of-state students paying as much as five times more than in-state counterparts at various University of California campuses” (CNN Politics). International students are not offered a cheaper tuition, even though they have clearly came here the right way.

Instead, illegal immigrants are being allowed to pay the same amount that a legal citizen would normally have to pay. It is unfair for an international student that abided by the laws to have to pay more than someone who has come to this country by first breaking the law. Now, some may argue that some undocumented immigrants that have been here were not brought here by choice and that the fault lies within their parents. However, being here long enough, there should have been some point in time where their parents could have fixed their papers sooner.

People also believe that the state of California will somehow benefit in the future from the tax increase that this law will enable, however “Because college dropout rates are high, many illegal immigrants who enroll at public institutions will not complete the two years the act requires, so taxpayers will bear the expense without a long-term benefit. ” The state will not benefit from the taxes due to all the overcrowding in schools, the dropout rate would increase, which would mean less money that students make in the future. The DREAM Act only requires two years of college; no degree is necessary” (Center for Immigration Studies). Only two years of the four are required, it is likely that students may dropout, or not continue on after the second year. The dropout rates within California are already high, pay for the schooling of undocumented immigrants will only affect us in the short term as far as overcrowding and limited spaces within the classroom, and there is no long term benefit. Despite California’s dream to grant equal rights and opportunities to everyone, the government must not forget to put the privilege of the legal citizens first.

The state of California will soon see overcrowding within schools, causing a higher dropout rate within the state of California. The hope for any tax benefit will more than likely not be seen due to all of these overcrowdings. The California Dream Act is unconstitutional. When regarded back to the United States Constitution, it is being failed to realize that by allowing these undocumented immigrants to now be allowed in state colleges all over California, we are pushing aside the rights of those who have gained those rights by being born or naturalized in the United States.

Works Cited

“California enacts law letting illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition. ” CNN Politics. 25 July 2011. 8 November 2011. Camarotam, Steven A. “Estimating the Impact of the DREAM Act. ” Center for Immigration Studies. November 2010. 9 November 2011. Jones, Melany. “Dream Act California: What Gov. Brown’s Bill Means for Students, Taxpayers”. Schools ; Degrees. 9 October 2011. 9 November 2011. “Living Cost in USA”. Abroad Education. 8 November 2011. “Student dropout rates linked to high stress over finances. ” Salary. com. 9 November 2011.


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