By Chris Hicks, Student Labor Action Project Coordinator
Next week will be one of the most important for hundreds of thousands of young people. Growing up, we are asked what we want to be when we grow up: a doctor, a lawyer, a police officer, fire fighter, or so many other things. What we weren’t asked is what we will do if our initial dream doesn’t happen.
Would you pick to be a farmworker? A day laborer? A domestic worker? A hotel worker?
Every year 65,000 high school students have to ask themselves that as they are denied their right to education in the United States due to their documentation status. After being denied the right to an education, these students are forced to be some of the most exploited workers in our nation who will have to face ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids, stagnant wages, workplace abuses, and in worst case situations deal with modern day slavery.
The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, better known as the DREAM Act, could prevent all this from continuing to plague this country. The DREAM Act would allow students to obtain documentation through attending college or serving in the military for two years. This single piece of legislation would allow students across the country to fulfill their childhood dreams.
It is time for the student and labor movements to come together and stand for education as a right, and the right to jobs with justice. When students and workers come together, we change this country to meet the needs of the many as opposed to meeting the needs of a few.
Next week will define if a student can continue their education or have their DREAM denied. Next week, young people around the country will watch as 100 senators decide the fate of so many lives.
Today we can change that though. Today we must take action. Call your senator today and demand they stand with students and workers across the country and make these DREAMs come true.