A Path to Citizenship: A Student's Take

By: Irene Patatoukos

       Staff Writer, Tampa Bay

Though immigration reform is still in debate amongst the Senate, there are many undocumented aliens who have the opportunity to begin their road towards possible citizenship thanks to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or as it is more commonly know as, the DREAM Act or DACA. This piece of legislation has already given many individuals a chance to begin their journey towards the better life the United States is known to provide.

I have been lucky enough to work alongside an attorney who managed to get more than a dozen clients the infamous DACA that so many illegal aliens are hoping they might have a chance to obtain, so I have good understanding of what it takes to be a candidate for this temporary residency and possible citizenship.  However, this only applies to a fraction of the millions living in our country with an illegal status.

In order for an individual to obtain a DACA there are quite a few requirements that must pertain to them. These requirements include: the individual must have entered this country prior to their 16th birthday and have the corresponding proof, they must have been between the ages of 12-35 at the time the bill was enacted, they have to have completed or be in the process of completing a high school education or a GED program, be of good moral character, and have lived in this country for a minimum of 5 consecutive years.

Those who do not fall under this DREAM Act are looking towards the future and hoping that immigration reform will help them begin their journey to the road of the better life that the United States.  The goal of those Senators and Representatives who are for immigration reform is to turn the DREAMer’s Act into a piece of legislation that will bring opportunity to DREAMer’s of all ages and not just those who were brought into this country as minor children.