A person who dreams.
- A person who has lived in the United States of America without official authorization since entering the country as a minor.
What is the American dream? Is it a white picket fence with a golden retriever and a family of four? Is it overcoming the situation in which you were born and achieving great success in politics? Or is it the dream of the immigrant who brings with them a million-dollar idea and changes the face of space travel forever?
These may sound familiar to you because they are real stories of the American Dream: from Barack Obama, raised by a single mother on the South Side of Chicago to Elon Musk, who left everything he had ever known in South Africa to chase the great American Dream of changing the face of technology.
However you relate to these people, you are most certainly familiar with their stories — and I am here to tell you that these stories are not entirely unique.
Who Are The Dreamers?
There is a complete generation of Americans, otherwise known as, “Dreamers” who with the help of universities like Harvard Medical School or the Berkeley School of Music are changing the face of the immigrant. They are doctors, scientists, and world-class thinkers that have plucked from their fountain of life experience to create the very vaccine that is saving millions of lives across the globe at this very moment.
They are also fathers, mothers, uncles, and aunts like so many of us, like you and me. What separates us from them?
We are both children of this Earth, we both have the same universal human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as was written in the document that gave freedom to a colony of immigrants so many centuries ago. And we both want to live a life with dignity without having to hide in the shadows of society simply because of decisions rendered by people outside of our control.
So I ask you, dear reader, are we really so different? Is the citizen so different from the immigrant that we cannot sympathize with the trials and tribulations of life?
This Is Where We Find Ourselves
As the United States of America chooses to shutter operations in Afghanistan this month, the world finds itself in shock and awe at the humanitarian crisis that is occurring across the ocean. And now more than ever, we must take a hard look at what it means to be an immigrant.
And so my dear reader, this is where we currently find ourselves. With a nation of immigrants, built by immigrants, deciding what to do with these immigrants. In particular, those of the “dreamers’’. Mostly adults now, some as old as their late 30s, still trying to figure out what their undocumented status means in a country of laws that refuses to recognize them.
What Are We Doing About It?
President Joe Biden and his administration as of January 20th, 2021, signed a memorandum halting all deportations and related actions to these childhood arrivals. Meaning they are no longer in fear of being deported, their work permits will continue to be valid, and new applicants can now file for this special status.
What does this all mean in the long run? Will there ever be a clear way to citizenship so that this legal limbo finally ends?
According to the official immigration plan from the Biden administration, there is a pathway to citizenship in the works for dreamers, seasonal workers, and all of those immigrants who were left behind by the previous administration’s decisions. And hopefully a speedy process and pathway to citizenship for the thousands of stranded Afghans.
With this new plan and willingness to help immigrants—it looks like the fear, the unknowingness, the lack of faith in a better tomorrow is finally dissipating. And with the help of folks like you and me, we as a society are getting better and more conscious of the imaginary line that separates “them” from you and me.
Dear reader, the American Dream isn’t dead, nor did it ever die, it continues to burn bright and guide those with the will to change the world to the shores of these great United States of America.
As it is inscribed on the feet of our Lady Liberty in New York City, let us remember these words now more than ever.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
References or to Learn More About Immigration:
- Joe Biden, (Janurary 2020), The Biden Plan for Securing Our Values As A Nation of Immigrants. https://joebiden.com/immigration/
- The White House, (August 2021), The Biden Blueprint for a Fair Orderly and Humane Immigration System. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/07/27/fact-sheet-the-biden-administration-blueprint-for-a-fair-orderly-and-humane-immigration-system/
- The New York Times, (May 18 2021), Biden’s Immigration Plan Would Offer Path to Citizenship for Millions. https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/02/18/us/joe-biden-news