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Dream Act as an Institution of American Democracy


The United States of America is one of the world’s leading democracies. Since its independence in 1776, the country has made an effort to embrace democratic governance. However, it is important to note that several challenges have affected the ability of this country to be seen to embrace democracy. Racism has been an issue of concern in the United States for a very long time, and various statesmen have struggled to fight it. Some died in the process, not living to see the benefits of their struggle. As the fight against racism continued, a new problem started emerging in the country. The number of people illegally immigrating into the United States of America started increasing dramatically. According to Pérez (67), the issue of illegal immigration into the United States has been a concern over the last decade.1 Many people around the world see this nation as a land of opportunities. Illegal immigrants from all over the world come to the country looking for better employment opportunities. Dealing with this problem has been very challenging. Various institutions have been set up to help address the concern. In this paper, the researcher will look at the Dream Act as an institution of American democracy and the role it has played in making the United States a better country.

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Dream Act

The DREAM Act, an acronym that stands for Development, Relief, and Education for the Alien Minors, is a piece of legislation introduced into the Senate by Orrin Hatch and Durbin Dick in 2001 (Tocqueville 78).2 According to this scholar, the government has been keen on addressing the problem of illegal immigration. It may be relatively easy to identify and probably deport people who come to the country through our airports because of the nature of security there. However, most of the illegal immigrants cross the borders through other means other than air transport, making it very difficult to track them as they make an entry into the country. The two legislators were concerned about the number of minors or young adults who find themselves illegally into this country and are locked out of our learning institutions. They find it difficult to further their education because incentives given to the American citizens such as scholarships are not available to them. These individuals may spend their entire lives in this country as illegal immigrants as has been the case in the past.

The problem with a lack of accountability for such individuals is that the country will be forced to spend more than it has planned for in its budgets. These illegal immigrants use the social amenities and infrastructure funded by the government. When they are not taken into consideration when budgeting, it will mean that the government will be planning to serve a lesser population than is the case. When these children grow up without formal education, chances are high that they may get into criminal activities that may jeopardize the security of the country. Some may be easily lured by the terrorist groups to act against the country. It is for these reasons that the legislators saw it necessary to come up with the Dream Act. As the name suggests, this institution seeks to actualize the dreams of alien minors who illegally immigrated into the country. This institution not only seeks to offer these alien minors education but also relief and education. It is an effort to transform the situation that existed then where the government ignored these aliens, to a new scenario where the government takes it upon itself to address the issue to find a lasting solution.

Many states in the country have adopted this Act, though in different versions. When it was introduced in the senate in 2001, it failed to gain the support that would have seen it become a federal law. However, it did not remain a defeated idea. The champions of this Act believed that this was a wonderful idea whose time shall come. The recent developments show that the right time for this piece of legislation has come. Carrasco (57) says that over 15 states already have their versions of the Dream Act.3 Many others are in the process of developing their versions. Society has come to realize that this is a reality that can no longer be ignored. The more it is ignored, the worse its consequences become. Currently, many aliens have greatly benefited from this Act by gaining access to public schools and getting scholarships, or getting to serve in the American military. Those who are proven to be of good conduct after serving in the military for at least two years, or graduating with at least a bachelor’s degree, get full citizenship through naturalization.

Reasons Why Dream Act was rejected when it was First Introduced in Senate

When introduced this bill was first introduced in the Senate for the first time in August 2001, it did not get the needed votes to pass to be a law. According to Buff (67), one of the main reasons why this bill was rejected at first was the misunderstanding among the legislators.4 The issue of illegal immigration into the United States was emotive at this time. The majority of the legislators were not convinced by the reasons given by the sponsors. They did not understand why the sponsors were coming up with a bill that would be seen to encourage illegal immigration. According to Stacey (113), another reason why this bill was rejected was because of political forces within the United States.5 The issue of illegal immigration has remained a controversial debate in the country. The majority of Americans strongly feel that illegal immigrants are strongly opposed to illegal immigration into the country. They argue that these illegal immigrants are to blame for the rising insecurity in the country. Some politicians rejected the bill simply to win the sympathy of the voters. Others voted against it because of their party ideologies.

How the Dream Act Functions as a Democratic Institution

As mentioned before, the United States is a democratic country where everyone is allowed to express their opinions and the majority is allowed to have the way. The Dream Act was a piece of legislation that was put in place to address issues that a section of the society has considered to be social injustices. As a democratic country, some legislators felt that the United States needed to show concern to everyone living in the country, including those who migrated into the country illegally as long as they were of good conduct and could be of benefit to the development of the nation. Other than being a world’s leading democracy, the United States of America has another important role of being the only superpower. This means that it has to guide the world on an issue about governance and seek to promote peace in the world. The country needs to do this, not through military operations, but through its unique ability to influence what takes place in other countries (Tocqueville 54).6 To do this, it has to win the trust of the international community. The trust and admiration will give it the moral authority to influence what takes place in other parts of the world. This can only happen if the country addresses issues that may tarnish its name. Management of illegal immigration, especially those involving the minors, is one of them. This is what the Dream Act seeks to address.

The Dream Act seeks to address the problem faced by minors and young adults who immigrated into the country. The Act is based upon the premise that these illegal immigrants can be of greater economic benefit to the United States if their presence is acknowledged and they become citizens of the country legally than when they remain unaccounted for by the states. According to Schwab and Gearhart (95), the United States has one of the largest military personnel on earth.7 The recent events such as the war on Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other regions across the world, have led to numerous deaths of the American soldiers. In the past, it was easier to recruit American citizens to serve in various positions in the military. For instance, it was easy to recruit soldiers during the First and Second World Wars because of the patriotic commitments of the American citizens due to the desire of defending their country. The government could also force the Blacks and others who were considered second class American citizens to serve in the military for various benefits during those times. However, this has changed. The United States is now a democracy that respects the rights of its citizens irrespective of their skin color, race, religion, or place of origin. This means that it has no authority to force its citizens to serve in the military (Tocqueville 73).8 The massive deaths of the American soldiers in the foreign lands have reduced the enthusiasm of the able men and women of this country to serve in the military. The need for an effective military that has enough personnel is still there, especially due to the acts of aggression by America’s longtime enemy, Russia.

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The Dream Act seeks to protect the democracy of this country by helping it to create a stronger military base that can withstand any form of external aggressions. It creates a win-win situation in the context of managing illegal immigrants in this country. The country needs more people to serve in military missions in various parts of the world. This group of illegal immigrants offers much-needed personnel. To the illegal immigrants, they get to become legally accepted citizens of the United States of America as per their desire. According to Welner and Chi (117), through this program, many people have been recruited into the US military service, helping in strengthening the military system of the country.9 Under this program, these individuals are allowed to quit the service after serving for two years. However, Payan and la De (53) says that in most of the cases, they prefer staying in the military for as long as twenty years or more. Some even consider serving in the military for their entire life.10 On one side, the military of this country gets a boost through these individuals who are willing to die serving a country they now consider their own. On the other side, the individuals get permanent employment and citizenship of this country as per their desire.

The Act also promotes education. According to Olivas (128), the United States is known to attract some of the best talents in the world.11 For a long time, the country has been considered a world where dreams are realized. This has seen individuals with unique talents struggle to get into the country, even if it is through illegal means. Some of the best brains in the country found their way into the United States illegally. The government has come to realize this, and the legislators were concerned about how the country can find a way of benefiting from these talents. Through the Dream Act, illegal immigrants are allowed to get into educational institutions through special sponsorship to complete their education. Before they can be allowed to become American citizens, they must not just pass their exams, but also be of good conduct. This means that the country will be admitting educated individuals who can help boost the economy of the country in various sectors. These individuals will be taxed once they get employment. This will increase the revenues collected by the states. They will also contribute to programs such as national health insurance funds and social security funds. This benefits the country a lot.

As Bruno (47) says, security is an important component of democracy that should not be ignored.12 A democratic country where a gang of criminals dictates the way of life of the community is just as bad as a country where a dictator defines the way of life of the citizens. In a democracy, it is necessary to ensure that people define their way of life without any form of discrimination or intimidation. According to Motomura (172), illegal immigrants had become a source of security concern in this country.13 Most of them were unemployed, so they resorted to acts of crime to earn a living. They waylay hardworking American citizens and rob them of their properties, harming them in the process. There are cases were innocent Americans die in the hands of such heartless criminals. The members of society are forced to redefine their lives, especially the time they can leave their houses and the time they must remain indoors. This is not democracy even if the country is governed through democratic leaders. In some cases, the illegal immigrants are hired as hit squad to target senior politicians or businessmen. Because they lack a job and someone is willing to pay them handsomely to do such a job, they do not hesitate. This has resulted in the loss of prominent politicians, human rights activities, and renowned businessmen among other personalities. This spate of insecurity is a threat to our national development. As the country struggles to sustain a 24-hour economy, the issue of insecurity must be adequately addressed.

The main problem that arises when a crime is committed by an illegal immigrant is that they cannot be easily traced. They are in the country illegally, which means that they are not documented anywhere in government departments. Even when their fingerprints are established, it is not possible to link the prints to the owner. Security agencies have complained that a lack of documentation of these illegal immigrants makes it almost impossible to trace them once they commit a crime. The Dream Act seeks to address this problem that has affected this country for a very long time. It addresses this problem in various ways. First, it seeks to empower these illegal immigrants through formal education. They get to learn the values that hold the fabric of American society together. They get to learn that crime and violence are not part of that fabric. They also learn that the consequences of such acts may be far worse than the benefit they may get. This knowledge will help them to reject the efforts of anyone who may want to use them for acts of crime.

Education also makes it easy for them to get formal employment within the country. According to Mayorga and Rader (185), when they leave their country, the intention of most of the illegal immigrants is to get better employment in the country.14 Rarely do they come with the sole intention of engaging in criminal activities. For this reason, when they go through the education system in the country and succeed in getting employment, they will abhor any form of criminal activity within society. Lastly, this Act states that once these illegal immigrants have graduated from the local universities, they will be granted citizenship of this country. This means that their true identity will be in the records of the government. When these people realize that the government authorities have their records, they may reject the temptation to engage in criminal activities. They will know that they can easily be arrested by the relevant authorities. The registration of the immigrants by the relevant authorities makes it easy for the law enforcers to track down the criminal offenders. This way, the security of the country will be enhanced. It is only through this enhancement that the true meaning of democracy can make sense.

The Dream Act also fosters a sense of responsibility for illegal immigrants who have been given the country’s citizenship. When these immigrants come to the country illegally, they always know that the government has a right to arrest them and take them back to their countries. Instead of doing this, this bill proposes what many may consider a reward for these immigrants. It offers them a rare opportunity, not only to stay legally in the country but also to develop. This is a favor that should be reciprocated. These immigrants have the moral duty to lead a moral life in this country. They have to play an integral part in enhancing the country’s economy. This benefits the economy immensely.

Dream Act’s Stated Function, Mission

The Dream Act’s functions as stated in the mission statement defined by the crafters of the bill are numerous. First, the institution seeks to address the issue of fairness and democracy in this country as defined above. A country with a high population of undocumented individuals cannot purport to be a world’s leading democracy. In a democratic country, individuals who have qualified for the status of citizenship through various legal means should be allowed to participate in democratic processes such as national elections. However, this cannot happen when they are denied American citizenship. This institution seeks to offer them this opportunity so that they can participate in decision making within the country. On the issue of fairness, the legislation seeks to ensure that these illegal immigrants may benefit from their hard work when they retire. Some of these people work in various companies in this country. They contribute to the social security fund and health insurance fund. However, the illegal status of their existence in the country means that they may not benefit from these two schemes. When they retire, all their contributions are taken up by the state. When they visit health institutions, they cannot benefit from the health insurance policy because their records are not with either the national or state government. They have earned this money, and it is unfair to deny them the benefits when it is necessary. The Act seeks to address this anomaly.

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As per the drafters’ stated mission, another function of this institution this bill is to enhance security in our country. As elaborated above, the bill seeks to eradicate insecurity through two main approaches. The first approach is to offer these immigrants formal education. As mentioned, this will psychologically empower them. It will change their mentality of viewing life. It also helps in making them view American society from a patriotic angle. This reduces the probability of their willingness to engage in acts that jeopardize insecurity. Education also prepares them for employment. The second approach is through direct employment in the American military. With stable employment, the desire to engage in criminal acts diminishes.

According to Eunyoung and Diaz (32), Dream Act seeks to transform the United States into a better country.15 The scholar says that this does not mean that the United States is not a good and admirable country as it is. If fact, it remains the most admired country in the world, attracting immigrants from all over the world. However, it is a fundamental truth that the country can become better if the issue of illegal immigrants can be addressed, especially those who found themselves in this country when they were minors and have stayed for over the last five years. The government of the United States of America may not be in a practical position to deport these immigrants. Some of them do not even know their country of origin because they came when they were very young. The biggest question that the government must be ready to answer when deporting them is the country to which they will be deported. To deport them, the American government will need to produce proof of the origin of these individuals. They cannot be deported and left in the seas. As Contreras (87) says, the only viable option in such circumstances is to allow them to stay illegally in the country.16 However, when they are allowed to stay without proper documentation, they pose fundamental threats to the country and themselves as stated in the sections above. It then becomes reasonable by documenting these people, especially if they can be used by the government to help in boosting the economy and the military sectors. Allowing them citizenship through such processes is what the Dream Act seeks to achieve.

Dream Act’s Actual Function

According to O’Leary (81), there has been a conflicting feeling about the actual function of the Dream Act.17 This scholar believes that the actual function of the institution can best be understood by analyzing the actions and political stand of its authors regarding the issue of Immigration. This makes it necessary to look at the immigration policies that have been championed by Orrin Hatch and Dick Durbin. According to Arnold (93), Orrin Hatch has been a staunch supporter of stricter immigration rules that will limit illegal immigration into the United States.18 He has proposed a series of policies, including the idea of positioning American forces on the borders to manage the issue of illegal immigration. According to García (18), based on the ideologies of Senator Hatch, it is possible to argue that this policy was meant to limit cases of illegal immigration into the country.19 This is specifically so because of a clause within the law which says that the amnesty offered through the Dream Act can only be granted if the individual entered the country legally. It is meant for two main groups. Those who immigrated into the country with their parents when they were minors and those who came to the country at an age lower than 16 for educational purposes. This would encourage immigrants to enter the United States legally. They will be assured of such an amnesty if they followed the right procedures. Managing documented illegal immigrants is easier than those that are not documented because they sneaked through the porous borders.

Senator Orrin has been a strong champion of the fight against terrorism or any form of extremism in society. This was specifically so after September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda attacks on the United States soil. The commission of inquiry established that some illegal immigrants largely participated if it resulted in the death of many Americans, besides the destruction of properties to a tune of billions of dollars (Schmidt 38).20 This was facilitated by the fact that these illegal immigrants were not documented. It became easy for these terrorists, who were non-documented illegal immigrants, to execute their different duties without being traceable. It was at this moment that the government realized that it was necessary to do something about the issue. The Dream Act can be considered an institution that was meant to help fight terrorism on United States soil. By documenting the illegal immigrants, it would be easy to deter them from joining the terrorist groups. It was also believed that these illegal immigrants would be in the best position to track down criminal gangs, especially those constituting a majority of illegal immigrants. That is why the Act recommended that these individuals should join the forces. They will be in a better position to track these gangs because they may know some of the members on a personal level. Getting critical intelligence that may lead to the arrest of the individuals or the situation they intended to create becomes easy.

Dick Durbin is known for his activities in championing human rights, not only in the United States but also in other parts of the world. He has chaired several committees that have been looking into issues such as targeted killing, human rights abuse, and racial discrimination among other issues in the society. Being the principal author of this institution, then it is easy to say that the Dream Act seeks to champion human rights. When he authored this legislation, he had in mind, the interest of protecting all those who were staying in the United States as a way of increasing their level of satisfaction as members of our society. According to Schier (54), Dick Durbin argued that although these illegal immigrants may not be citizens of the United States, hence not titled to enjoy the rights and benefits meant for Americans, the fact is that we share with them the same society.21 If there is no means of eliminating them from society through legal means, then it may be necessary to embrace them and transform them from being a threat to the state to being productive citizens who can take the country a step further towards becoming a better economy and a better society. To do this, it is necessary to make them feel comfortable. They should feel that they are recognized and respected by society. They should feel that they are an integral part of society so that they can develop personal commitment to contribute towards its development. This can only be achieved when they are allowed citizenship of this country. This will make them feel that they belong to this society. It is for this reason that the institution of the Dream Act was created.

The institution of Dream Act may also be considered to champion the expansion of the United States Military and higher education among the Americans. According to the principles of this institution, becoming an American would not just be a walk in the park for illegal immigrants. They had to earn it through either of the two ways. For those who are academic giants, they are allowed to prove their worth in classrooms. For the United States to remain the world’s largest economy, it has to maintain a large base of highly qualified labor. The rate at which some Americans drop out of school before graduating with a bachelor’s degree is worrying. The government knows that if this rate cannot be reversed, then soon it may force the country to source for external expertise, a complete opposite of what is expected of a world’s superpower and the leading economy. This Act seeks to bridge this gap, by granting these immigrants full citizenship if they complete their bachelor’s degree. This will assure the nation of a continued supply of qualified labor into the market.

The military is another sector that this Act seems to favor as per its principles. The United States military is the strongest in the world, in terms of its capacity. However, the recent emergence of China as a formidable world power and its frosty relationship with the United States is very worrying. According to McNevin (54), China has about 2,285,000 active soldiers serving in the military and paramilitary units compared to America’s 1,430,000.22 Although the war in the current society may not be decided in terms of the number of soldiers, such a large force cannot be ignored. With that number of military personal and the immense economic power that the country currently wields, China can manage to send its military officers to various parts of the world to assert its military power in the global sphere, a move that will upset the current position held by the United States. The United States will need to maintain considerable large armies to protect its position in the world. The Dream Act seeks to provide the country with this opportunity, by allowing the illegal immigrants to serve in the country’s military. Some may bring unique talents, if given the opportunity, of how the country can manage to protect itself from the nuclear threats it faces from countries such as Russia, Iran, North Korea, and even China.

Informal Cultures and Practices That Inform How This Institution Works

Some several informal cultures and practices inform how this institution works. The first culture is the popular belief that immigrants are the leading source of insecurity in this country. According to Odem and Lacy (115), Black Americans were considered as a threat to society’s security.23 As Woodhouse (42) observes, this is part one of the reasons why the racist regimes denied them several rights.24 They were denied the right to vote in the past because their ability to make rational decisions was doubted by the racist ruling class. They were denied access to some areas or social amenities such as the hospitals or schools meant for the Whites because a section of the society felt that they were a threat. According to Buff (90), this was partly true, but the reason why they became a threat was due to the frosty relationship with the Whites and how they were treated.25 A culture had developed in this society where the African Americans were considered second class citizens. They were treated with suspicion whenever a situation made it necessary for the Whites and Blacks to integrate. This had two effects on the African Americans that made them violent. First, there was a strong desire for revenge, by causing some form of harm to the Whites due to the social injustices they perpetrated against the Blacks. The second effect was that with time, some Blacks came to embrace the perception that they are dangerous. Through despair, they came to believe that their lives had o be full of challenges, and they had to force things to happen to have their way. Living in such a society is very dangerous. The drafters of this legislation knew this fact and were interested in creating equality among the people living in the United States to avoid this old retrogressive culture.

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Another culture that informed how this institution works is the popular belief that education is critical in achieving success for an individual and society. According to Contreras (48), the elites always find it easy to make it through in life. They become useful not only to themselves but also to their society.26 They understand the relevance of having a peaceful and secure society, and for this reason, try to be part of the agents for security instead of being a threat. This explains why the Dream Act emphasized the need to take the immigrants through to the highest level of education possible. The Act mandates the government to sponsor these children to the highest level of education possible so that they can give back to society through service. This cultural belief has been in existence since the emergence of formal education.

The Evolution and History of Dream Act

The Dream Act was first introduced in the 107th Congress by Luis Gutierrez on April 25, 2001, under the name ICEADPA (Immigrant Children’s Education Advancement and Dropout Prevention Act of 2001. However, the bill failed to get the necessary support. On May 21 the following year, another version of the bill was introduced in what was referred to as SAA (Student Adjustment Act). Orrin Hatch, a republic senator, supported by a Democrat Senator Dick Durbin introduced the version of SAA in the senate but gave it the name Dream Act in August 2001. It is from this version that the Dream Act gained its current name. The Act was not universally embraced. Each state was given the mandate of implementing the act based on the relevant local forces. Although the name Dream Act has been retained, each of the states using this piece of legislation has its versions of it relevant to their local contexts.

Why Dream Act Emerged

The Dream Act emerged as a result of the desire to address the issue of dealing with illegal immigrants in the country. It is important to note that this legislation does not cover measures that can be to address the actual process of immigration. It wholly focuses on managing the problem of the current immigrants living in the United States. It seeks to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in the country by providing them with alternatives to staying in the streets, education, and service in the military. The drafters of this Act were not just concerned with the issue of addressing insecurity posed by the illegal immigrants but also the desire to see justice and equity served to all the American workers.

How Dream Act Relates To Dominant Ideologies of American Democracy

The Dream Act relates to various dominant ideologies of American democracy. The ideologies of human rights activists such as Martin Luther King Junior, W. E. Du Bois, and George Manson, among others informed the principles of this institution. According to Contreras (67), many scholars have attributed the Dream Act to Martin Luther King’s great speech, I Have a Dream.27 In this speech, King talked about his dream of all Americans being given fair treatment, irrespective of their race, religion, or any other demographic factors. This ideology closely relates to what the Dream Act seeks to achieve, fairness to the immigrants who find themselves in this country illegally. This legislation seeks to ensure that these individuals are given fair treatment as much as possible while they are in this country. As Buff (83) says, the Act is a true realization of the need to have a unified and just American society.28

Another dominant ideology that relates to this institution is the human rights and social equality that has been championed in this country for a very long time. According to Schier (74), the Dream Act closely shares several principles with the ideologies of human rights legislation.29 The Act seeks to promote an American society where an individual’s rights are respected as long as they stay in America. Although the burden of dealing with the other section of the immigrants,- those who did not follow due procedures when entering the country and are above the age of 35 years- it addresses the active segment by creating an avenue that will enable them to develop and participate in the country’s development.

Criticism of the Dream Act

The Dream Act is currently being implemented in many states within the nation. However, a section of the society is strongly opposed to it despite some of its benefits. The critics argue that the bill is encouraging illegal immigration into the United States. People around the world will be convinced that even without following the proper channels, they can still become American citizens. This will worsen the current immigration problem that the nation is struggling to address. Some critics argue that this act seeks to reward those who immigrate to the country. According to Stacey (88), some American citizens feel that this Act may be a vehicle for the terrorists to get into the military system.30 All they have to do is to enter into the country illegally, get the amnesty offered by this Act, and then find their way into the American forces as outlined in this Act. Nothing can be as dangerous as having an enemy who is entrusted with the security of the country. They will not only understand how to strategize their attacks but will also know how to paralyze the military forces to disrupt the response system once they strike


The Dream Act as an institution of American democracy has played a major role in trying to solve the issue of managing illegal immigrants in the United States. The legislation, which was first introduced in the Congress in April 2001 before it was introduced in the Senate in August the same year, seeks to address the problems posed by illegal immigrants who are currently living in the United States. As shown in the above discussion, this institution aims to transform illegal immigrants into American citizens who serve in the military or other sectors of the economy after going through the education system. This is meant to enhance security in the country and the fight against terrorism. Although this Bill has received massive criticism in this country, there is a general agreement that offers a better solution in addressing the illegal immigration problem than what the current systems offer.

Works Cited

Arnold, Kathleen. Anti-immigration in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood Press, 2011. Print.

Bruno, Andorra. Unauthorized Aliens in the United States. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. Print.

Buff, Rachel. Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship. New York: NYU Press, 2008. Print.

Carrasco, Stacey. The D.r.e.a.m. Act, Is It Just a Dream: Latino Challenges in Public Policy. New York: Cengage, 2006. Print.

Contreras, Frances. Achieving Equity for Latino Students: Expanding the Pathway to Higher Education Through Public Policy. New York: Teachers College Press, 2011. Print.

Eunyoung, Kim, and ‎Jeannette Diaz. Immigrant Students and Higher Education: Ashe Higher Education Report. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 2013. Print.

García, John. Latino Politics in America: Community, Culture, and Interests. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publisher, 2012. Print.

Mayorga, Edwin, and Seth Rader. Camouflaged: Investigating How the U.S. Military Affects You and Your Community; a Resource Guide Created by the New York Collective of Radical Educators. New York: New York Collective of Radical Educators, 2008. Print.

McNevin, Anne. Contesting Citizenship: Irregular Migrants and New Frontiers of the Political. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Print.

Motomura, Hiroshi. Immigration Outside the Law. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2014. Print.

Odem, Mary, and Elaine Lacy. Latino Immigrants and the Transformation of the U.S. South. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009. Print.

O’Leary, Anna. Undocumented Immigrants in the United States. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014. Print.

Olivas, Michael. No Undocumented Child Left Behind: Plyler V. Doe and the Education of Undocumented Schoolchildren. New York: New York University Press, 2012. Print.

Payan, Tony, and la De. Undecided Nation: Political Gridlock and the Immigration Crisis. New York: Cengage, 2014. Print.

Pérez, William. We Are Americans: Undocumented Students Pursuing the American Dream. Sterling, Va: Stylus, 2009. Print.

Schier, Steven. Transforming America: Barack Obama in the White House. Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011. Print.

Schmidt, Ella. The Dream Fields of Florida: Mexican Farmworkers and the Myth of Belonging. Lanham, Md: Lexington Books, 2009. Print.

Schwab, William, and George Gearhart. Right to Dream: Immigration Reform and America’s Future. Fayetteville, Ark: University of Arkansas Press, 2013. Print.

Tocqueville, Alexis. Democracy in America. Cambridge: Saver and Francis, 2004. Print.

Welner, Kevin, and Wendy Chi. Current Issues in Education Policy and the Law. Charlotte, N.C: Information Age Pub, 2008. Print.

Woodhouse, Barbara. Hidden in Plain Sight: The Tragedy of Children’s Rights from Ben Franklin to Lionel Tate. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. Print.


1 William Pérez, We Are Americans: Undocumented Students Pursuing the American Dream (Sterling: Stylus, 2009) 67.

2 Alexis Tocqueville, Democracy In America, (Cambridge: Saver and Francis,2004) 78.

3 Stacey Carrasco, The D.r.e.a.m. Act, Is It Just a Dream: Latino Challenges in Public Policy, (New York: Cengage, 2006) 57.

4 Rachel Buff, Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship, (New York: NYU Press, 2008) 67.

5 Stacey 56

6 Tocqueville 54

7 William Schwab and George Gearhart, Right to Dream: Immigration Reform and America’s Future, (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2013) 95.

8 Tocqueville 76

9 Kevin Welner and Wendy Chi, Current Issues in Education Policy and the Law, (Charlotte: Information Age Pub, 2008) 117.

10 Tony Payan and la De, Undecided Nation: Political Gridlock and the Immigration Crisis, (New York: Cengage, 2014) 53.

11 Michael Olivas, No Undocumented Child Left Behind: Plyler V. Doe and the Education of Undocumented Schoolchildren, (New York: New York University Press, 2012) 128.

12 Andorra Bruno, Unauthorized Aliens in the United States (New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2010) 47.

13 Hiroshi Motomura, Immigration Outside the Law, (New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2014) 172.

14 Edwin Mayorga and Seth Rader, Camouflaged: Investigating How the U.S. Military Affects You and Your Community; a Resource Guide Created by the New York Collective of Radical Educators, (New York: New York Collective of Radical Educators, 2008) 185.

15 Kim Eunyoung and ‎Jeannette Diaz, Immigrant Students and Higher Education: Ashe Higher Education Report, (San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 2013) 32.

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18 Kathleen Arnold, Anti-immigration in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, (Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood Press, 2011) 93.

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22 Anne McNevin, Contesting Citizenship: Irregular Migrants and New Frontiers of the Political, (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011) 54.

23 Mary Odem and Elaine Lacy, Latino Immigrants and the Transformation of the U.S. South, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009) 115.

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30 Stacey 88

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