Illinois Dream Act: A Dream Come True

By: Daniel Nardini

The Illinois House of Representative passed the Illinois Dream Act. It has gone before Illinois Governor Pat Quinn who said he will sign it. When signed into law, it will be the first law of its kind anywhere in the United States. A similar piece of legislation was already passed by the Illinois Senate. Under the law, undocumented young people, who were brought to the United States as children or babies, can receive financial assistance to go on to college if they qualify.

The financial help will come from private donations and be administered by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Because of this there will be no cost to Illinois state taxpayers. Also, families of undocumented students will be able to qualify for two college tuition savings programs that will help undocumented students who qualify to go on to college. This new law will help bright and capable young people who earn high grades and are good kids to be able to realize their dreams. Mind you it does nothing about their immigration status, but at least it gives them hope of having a better life.

And that is the point of this new and wonderful law—to help give kids who never had a say in being in this country in the first place to be able to have some chance at a better shot at life and get a college diploma. These kids are among the state’s finest and brightest, and this state is recognizing this. It will not solve their immigration problem, nor will it help them get work later on in life.

But that is the failure of the federal government. What Illinois is doing is saying to these kids that it is not their fault for being here, and they cannot be held accountable for the sins of their parents. But they can be given a chance at life. And we should say to them that if they work hard and play by the rules as best they can we can give them a chance. For the most part we have heard and seen states enact laws to punish and persecute the undocumented. But this targets a segment of the undocumented—the young—who never had a say in being here or anywhere else. But they are as American as you or I, and have never known for the most part of their lives any other land.

Because of this, I am glad that the State of Illinois has bucked a national trend and is trying to help among the most vulnerable of the undocumented. These kids could become the great minds, the leaders of tomorrow. I am happy I have seen the day that the legislators of this great state (Democrat, Republican and independent) have given these kids a chance at life they would not have had otherwise. I am proud to call myself a resident of the State of Illinois!

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