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Dream Act in Texas Strengths and Weaknesses

Introduction

Research shows that Texas was a place of 4,369,271 immigrants in 2013, which was higher than the total population of other states within the US (Immigration Policy Center, “New Americans in Texas”). Not only in the current years, but Texas has remained under the focus of law enforcers as a hub of immigration within the US, having mostly been registered as a state hosting the maximum number of foreign nationals. It was emphasizing these grounds that the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, also known as the DREAM Act, represents the American legislative proposal made by the US Congress introduced as on August 1st, 2001. It is basically a tax law as applied in the United States to prevent the abuse of immigrant children from being deprived of the basic amenities necessary to a healthy life in the modern phenomenon, introduced with code SB1819. Senators from Texas, including Tom Creighton, Lois Kolkhorst and Donna Campbell, originally introduced it. In view of the public need for services and the increasing number of undocumented immigrants, this law has been enacted  (Escalante, “Fight for the Texas Dream Act Continues”). Undoubtedly, Texas and its cultural traditions have a major role to play in improvising the Act, fostering a number of social movements across the US as well as resisting them.

DREAM Act was Developed for the Purpose of Rectifying Discrimination of Undocumented Immigrant Children from their Educational Rights. The primary objectives of this Act have thereafter been emphasizing the legalization of the overall status of undocumented immigrant children residing in Texas (Nakamura, Costa and Fahrenthold, “Obama announces immigration overhaul shielding 4 million from deportation”). Undoubtedly though, the enactment of the stated legislation had to face many conflicts and hindrances owing to its supposed limitations concerning registration of the undocumented immigrant children and the allocation of national resources to suffice their needs. In order to mitigate these limitations, the various conditions noted to come under the DREAM Act emphasized that immigrant children entering the country, must be at an age of 15 years at least to obtain the benefit and get registered in the public schools of Texas. Besides, the children should have sufficient proof regarding their presence within the nation for a minimum five years (Escalante, “Fight for the Texas Dream Act Continues”).

Thesis Statement

The objective of this paper is to clarify the various measures for immigrant students in Texas, with respect to the implementation of the DREAM Act.

Dream Act in Texas Strengths and Weaknesses

Background to the Dream ACT in Texas

Rate of immigration in Texas has always been high, which has often been argued as the product of its lenient border security. Arguably, Texas has attracted much of the attention from the international organizations as a hub to illegal immigration that has in turn provoked many activist approaches to its social concerns. One of the social concerns that can be illustrated in this context was the rising issue propounded by the human rights activists of the nation, highlighting the unethical discriminations that the children of undocumented or illegal immigrants were facing owing to the misconduct or their parents (Wheeler, “One year later, undocumented immigrant children quietly settling in Michigan”). To put it simply, the children of undocumented immigrants in Texas were argued to be deprived from their common human rights, one of those being identified as the education facility, forming the base for the DREAM Act. Eventually, Texas has adopted laws allowing undocumented students to pay state tuition fees, while they are entering into the public universities, through the mentioned DREAM Act, although subjected to a few conditions, applicable to develop a proper definition to their eligibility for public school facilities (Sakuma, “Texas considers rolling back landmark DREAM Act”). One of these conditions applicable is that the children must live in Texas for at least a five years period and provide with an affidavit to ensure their legal residency even if their parents of other adult family members are supposed to be undocumented. However some opposing views to the decision have been creating issues that the implemented law is unfair to legal citizens, as national students might have to face scarcity in the distribution or educational resources (Redden, “A New Tack for the DREAM Act”).

This particular view can be justified with the illustration that with given number of seats in public schools, national children might be forced to join private schools in their surroundings with immigrant pupils covering the population criterion in public schools. In addition, as the DREAM Act does not force any extra charges to the immigrant children when getting admission in public schools, such a situation of conflict have high degree of chances to become true. It is quite obvious in the modern socio-economic setting that the educational structure is limited for every state, as is also observed in Texas. It can therefore be considered arguable that higher tuition fees will ensure limited registration by immigrant students in the Texas public schools, reducing the risks for local students to be deprived from the benefits of basic education structure, but on the other hand, compromising with the sole intention of the Act to assist immigrant students with educational benefits without discrimination (Immigration Policy Center, “The DREAM Act”).

To be noted in this context, the formation of the DREAM Act took place in 1982 and since, has been witnessed to be amended and reformulated at various following instances. Notably, at the first stage of its formation, the Supreme Court in Texas had directed to the state authority to allow undocumented immigrant children for their basic education. However, owing to the lack of support received from other political parties, this initiative could not be implemented to its entirety. Again, the enforcement of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 strongly restricted the immigrants for higher education that was considered contradictory to the enactment of the DREAM Act. However, mitigating such conflicts, the DREAM Act 2001 was finally introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch in August 2001 in Texas that allowed the state to determine eligibility of the students for taking education at the specified and uniformly applied state’s tuition rates. Subsequently, many changes were made in the DREAM Act 2003, implemented by Senator Orrin Hatch and Richard Durbin, as was deemed suitable to suffice the then social needs. These changes mostly included higher revenue generation through investment in educational sectors, wherein various social changes were also initiated simultaneously. Gradually, the legislation began receiving social acceptance at a greater extent, which led to its final adaptation by the entire nation (The Texas Tribune, “TRIBPEDIA: Dream Act”).

In the modern era, with rising globalization issues and augmenting rapidity in internationalization of citizenship, immigration has emerged as a major issue for every developing as well as developed nation. In most of the cases it is highly relative with growth and other factors of the particular economy, such as that was observed in the case of Texas. In a country like the US, immigration rates have always been a major issue of concern for both the social activists in the country and internal organizations concerned with human rights. However, it shall not be irrelevant to state that Texas has been one of the most strongly affected states of the US, when dealing with the issue of immigration (Benning, “Texas immigration bills imperiled by time constraints, friction within GOP”). Correspondingly, when emphasizing the reasons of immigration as the foundation to the DREAM Act enactment in Texas, factors related to economic security and better future prospects can be identified as the primary concerns for the immigrants within the state, which can also be found associated with the standard of living offered. Nevertheless, when particularly emphasizing on Texas, the major reason to immigration from its neighboring countries can be observed as the lenient border security laws followed (Johnson and King, “Texas judge refuses to lift block on Obama immigration plan”). It was with the intention to indirectly address this issue as well that the DREAM Act was implemented in Texas, which has brought about vast changes in the social construct of the state covering the education system for immigrants. In concern to this issue, the fact that such accreditations might result in greater volume of immigrants into Texas, the authorities have taken due measures to strengthen the border laws. This particular measure also intended to address the conflicts raising among human rights activists within the nation, that the DREAM Act might limit resources duly in need for the national children (Escalante, “Fight for the Texas Dream Act Continues”). It is on these grounds that the DREAM Act can be observed as possessing various strengths and weaknesses as has been intended to be addressed in the following discussion.

The Strengths and Weaknesses of Dream ACT

DREAM Act of Texas was initially introduced with the intention for the betterment of immigrant children, as they were considered lacking adequate facilities to lead a healthy life and often discriminated in the society, further inhibiting their common human rights owing to the act of their parents, raising grave concerns to their social status. Thus, the DREAM Act not only was able to bring social justice to the immigrant children in Texas, but it also allowed a better flow of resources for the economic benefits over the long run as well. For instance, with the DREAM Act, strength of skilled labor force and its diversity too became enriched within the society, making the economic activities faster and more effective. Emphasizing the benefits of higher capital formation to pull-up the overall economy in a long term, this act concentrated on the betterment of the social structure in Texas related with almost all its dimensions (Bonyanpour, “Pro-Con: Should Texas repeal its Dream Act?”). To put it simply, it is a process of citizenship that helps to improvise the overall social system. The conceptual framework of the DREAM Act can therefore be considered as based on the notion elaborating higher integration between domestic and overseas helps to build a better international relationship, raising the responsible attributes of the hosting county. Thus, this particular feature can be effectively linked with the growth prospects of the economy wherein every social structure shall become adequate if it consists of quality people to instigate higher self sufficiency, boosting the productivity levels of the people to a greater extent. Another key point, which can be considered as a positive attribute related to the DREAM Act, is its competencies in relation to the integration of cross cultural work forces. It is in this context that student from different cultural backgrounds are considered to play a greater role in driving the dynamism in the working method, working in the benefit to Texas’ economic construct (Occupytheory, “List of Pros and Cons of The Dream Act”).

Forecasted appeals, when formulating the DREAM Act, revealed that around $66 billion were expected to be generated by 2030 that was directly correlated with the effective functioning of the overall economy (Dubois, “DREAM Act Could Mean Billions for Texas”). Undoubtedly, if managed in the most effective manner, migration can have a positive contribution to the efficiency of the geographic region, by providing it a competitive strength in the global stage, augmenting diversity to the highest possible extent of productivity. On the other hand, this legislation was also supposed to bring a huge scope of employment for the Texas’ labor force within the global arena, hosting a multicultural socio-economic framework. It was correspondingly assumed to help in creating 282,000 new jobs by 2030 (Dubois, “DREAM Act Could Mean Billions for Texas”). The presumption taken during the adaptation of the DREAM Act was that, youth are the backbone for every developed nation and thus, keeping the children or the country, whether documented or undocumented immigrants or local nationals, would have cause a social set-back to the region. It was with this supposition that the Texas’ DREAM Act will help to hold comparatively higher proportion of graduates towards improving the state’s overall structure within the national grounds as well as in the global field (Brown, “DREAM Act youths might be worth billions to Texas”). Economists, human rights activists and positivists, when concerning this particular legislative measure being taken by the then senate in Texas further elaborated that grooming the immigrant youth in the proper manner shall improve their national goal by using the nations’ overall architecture, which was also expected to be beneficial for both the administration and the workforce, not limited to Texas (Choi, “Separating Fact from Fiction on the DREAM Act”). While this signified the long terms benefits expected to be earned with the implementation of the DREAM Act, there were also certain short run advantages of the legislative measure. Illustratively, allowing immigrant children to pursue their education in Texas’ public schools would allow maximum utilization of the public resources in the country, generating higher revenue, also facilitating the collection of governmental taxes from the industrial sectors, i.e. from the professionals indirectly. It is also relevant that service sector will be benefited because of higher proportion of young talented bunch obtained from the population targeted through the DREAM Act in Texas. It was also believed during its interpretation that competitive challenges will increase for the national populaces, which would steer innovation, better capital flow and greater use of available resources within the economy. It is therefore also justifiable that the DREAM Act strongly relates with GDP formation. Huge workforce, rewarding higher intelligence can apparently be linked with higher productivity, as it helps to raise the GDP of the US overall, in the long term (Kim, “Rick Perry Stands by Texas DREAM Act”).

However, not to be ignored, every new act has certain pros and cons, which also holds true in the case of the DREAM Act of Texas. One of its drawbacks has been its governmental policies becoming ineffective due to massive population rise, within a short term period, taking place during continuous immigration. Texas state government also had to face various adverse situations to maintain the entire population effectively with the sudden rise in its public facilities demand by the immigrants, which also proved substantially costly to the state government in the initial days of its implementation. Lack of administrative accountability is another issue that was identified during the enactment of the DREAM Act. Excessive population rise and the consequent rise in illegal entry of immigrants further jeopardized the governmental policies at the initial days of its implementation (Fox News, “Texas legislature begins push to repeal state’s ‘Dream Act’ over objections of activists, business leaders”). In the similar context, the DREAM Act was also found to be highly interlinked with border security rules, particularly because the Act was likely to attract a larger pool of undocumented immigrants owing to its greater flexibility in sharing educational and other economic resources. Thus, the tendency of illegal entry was supposedly higher and quite alarming, as it could hamper the existing citizens’ rights, provoking considerable opposing views to the aspect. It was also debated that the legalization of immigration at such a volume could affect the overall resources distribution within the economy. It was owing to such increase that higher utilization of all the services and massive uses of natural resources were highly responsible for the uncertain breakdown, which was likely in Texas (Perez, “Removing Barriers to Higher Education for Undocumented Students”). Linguistic barriers were another concern of the DREAM Act. This imposed further a greater level of stress on the education system of Texas, wherein the resources also demanded proficiency in teaching English as the main official language (Honda and Seid, “DREAM Act: Supporting our students”).

Conclusions and Recommendations

In the era of globalization and continuous channelization of international economic resources, immigration has become a common phenomenon. While it has increased economic supremacy at various ends, it has also inhibited progression of the society through national sovereignty to an extent. It is in this context that both international and local populaces are equally important key factors for the growth and development of an economy, from the socio-economic perspective. At often instances however, these two dimensions are observed as contradictory to each other and demands special attention from the law enforcers. It is in this context that the DREAM Act has been playing a pivotal role to balance the situation at these two ends, especially when concerning the socio-political context of Texas. With this intention, strong measures are also needed to rectify those drawbacks, as identified in the above discussion, in respect to the DREAM Act. Suggestively thus, primary focus should be on establishing a well-furnished infrastructure to boost the capacity of the population overall, making complete utilization of the available resources. To deal with the contradictory views arising within Texas concerning the Act, it will also be important for the state government to better its communication system, and implement better techniques to bring fairness within the system, through the generation of sufficient awareness to like-mindedness within its population. Reservation can also be illustrated as another important parameter to increase benefits for immigrants. It can thus be recommended that the government of Texas must consider a specific reservation ratio between immigrants and local residences for all service purposes that would settle the debate centering resource distribution within the nation. Correspondingly, to deal with the situation, the education sector can be considered as the main target area in lieu of the enacted DREAM Act. Nevertheless, reservation may also give rise to further debates emphasizing the discrimination between national populaces and the undocumented immigrants in the state. For instance, unbalanced distributions of reservations might lead to segregations between national population and the immigrant citizens, further giving rise to the issue related with unsatisfactory talent pool within the national industries. On the other hand, the US the government should be stricter on controlling illegal entry in border areas of Texas, to prevent further increase in the number of undocumented immigrants in the state, which might make its socio-economic and political stability, suffer in the long run.

On the other side it is also important to take an initiatives for the purpose of English training must also not be disregarded as a vital factor to the well-being of the immigrant children, in order to make them efficient enough to make proper use of the national resources. The overall understanding obtained from the discussion in this paper highlights upon the negatives and the positive of immigrations. Undoubtedly, undocumented immigration has been a social concern since many decades for the modern human civilization. Pressures coming from the end of international organizations have also been un-ignorable in order to depict the obligations that a particular nation faces when hosting such inflow of undocumented immigrants. Texas, in this context, has been successful, although unwontedly, to draw the attention of the national as well as international human rights organizations that has in turn pressured governmental forces to tackle the issue with a more lenient but in an uncompromising manner. The same can be observed with regard to the political environment of Texas, wherein the implemented DREAM Act has attracted much attention and debates for the last decade, since its implementation. Factually indeed, the legislative enactment has raised certain positives about the sustainability of its economy, focused on empowering the human resources summatively available within its boundaries and further on making optimum utilization of its economic resources. On the contrary though, making the national resources available for the undocumented immigrant children have also raised a social concern of scarcity and a more complex framework for its distribution was in demand within no time. It is therefore highly essential to strike a balance in maintaining the interests of the national citizens as well as meet the obligations towards immigrants. A key solution to the issue, which might also help Texas government to balance the occurrence, is to implement its border laws in a stricter manner that would limit the rate of illegal immigration into the country and likewise, prove beneficial to control the diversity and distribution of its resources available.

Works cited
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