The United States is often referred to as an exceptional country, which much unlike any other, has endured defying turmoil, and – rather than relinquishing with vulnerability – the country has instead progressed and has transformed into a stable and virtuous nation. However, the more the United States longs for recognition for being an accepting country, the more it fails to acknowledge that approval requires much more than the absence of reprimands. It also requires unlimited and varying forms of support.
As an undocumented student, I was inevitably exposed to mockery and belittlement by many people and under different circumstances. Yet, through it all, schools continued to encourage discipline in order to gain success; meanwhile, the government guaranteed equality in this land of opportunities. However, as I have come to realize, neither discipline nor equality apply when one so desperately desires a higher level of education for the sole purpose of assuring a fulfilling future. In fact, shortly after earning an associate’s degree, I began to experience the greatest amount of rejection and deterrence I have ever experienced in my life.
The government recently attempted to hearten undocumented students by creating the Dream Act, the purpose of which was to provide options so illegal immigrants could further their education. However, the intent was defeated by the indefinite amount of requirements needed in order to qualify, and the scarce overall resulting benefits consisting of a driver’s license and work permit. The act itself was designed to reiterate the importance of obtaining a higher level of education by simplifying the college process for children of illegal immigrants. Ineptly, the government failed immensely to offer any resources so the undocumented students could pursue their career aspirations.
As a result of the Dream Act, a Social Security number could be assigned to those who qualified, but that alone would not make them eligible for certain types of federal money, including grants. Excuse my ignorance, but what? So this country is more than capable to assist those disadvantaged who desire nothing more than enlightenment, but it is not selfless enough to deliver advantages? This, to me, seems cruel and unjust. My intention is not to undermine the Dream Act, but rather to illustrate that the United States has the obligation to aid in the advancement of future generations.
This country was initially considered a melting pot for its ability to blend and adjust to different individuals, making the country authentic. Then the idea of assimilation took forth a distinct meaning with the salad bowl analogy, which encouraged every person to contribute a certain flavor to the general, nonjudgmental population. Nowadays, the United States is referred to as a mosaic, a beautiful creation made only possible by various elements. This country has undeniably welcomed many immigrants, but is the country developed enough to commit to benefit all? The United States serves as an example to all other countries, and – therefore – it should pursue different options that will guarantee prosperous futures to all. In fact, wasn’t the country built with the objective to promote the general welfare?
• Sylvia Acosta is a junior at Aurora University, double majoring in political science and sociology, and double minoring in Spanish and international studies. She is planning to enter law enforcement. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.