What was the DREAM Act and how would it have affected the American Economy?

The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) helps certain individuals who qualify have an opportunity to serve in the military or go to college and gain a way to citizenship which they would otherwise not have. This act would allow young students who came to America at a young age to have a chance to contribute back to their country which they grew up in. The four basic requirements that individuals must meet are: Entering the country before the age of 16, Graduating high school or obtaining a GED, Having good moral character (no criminal record), and having been in the United States for more than 5 consecutive years. Once these requirements are met, within 6 years, individuals must either obtain a two year college degree or fulfill two years of military service to gain the chance to adjust their conditional permanent residency to US citizenship.

As stated earlier, one of the purposes of Arizona’s Immigration Bill is to decrease crime rate. So what about those immigrants who haven’t committed any crimes? Senators Orin Hatch (R- UT) and Richard Durbin (D- IL) both agreed to make good moral character one of the requirements in the DREAM Act, possibly meaning to reward those immigrants who are not part of the “problem.” This legislation eventually benefits all American consumers by lowering the price level of goods and services overall.

The immigrants that become citizens under this piece of legislation would, instead of being detrimental to the US economy, be advantageous to it. Parents have more of an incentive to bring their young children to America in the hopes of them gaining citizenship, and because of the requirements of the legislation, these immigrants probably will not contribute to the crime factor. Once the young children are grown up and become citizens, they add to the labor force, lowering the cost of production for businesses, increasing productivity, increasing the supply, and thus, decreasing the price level for consumers.

Although this act was not passed by the Senate, it is possible for similar bills to be created in the future that would give citizenship to illegal immigrants. This raises many more questions that may or may not be answered: Should the requirements to obtain citizenship for immigrants be made stricter? Should they be less strict? Should we even give immigrants who came here illegally the chance to become citizens? What reasons did the senators who opposed the act have?




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