DREAM Act trials and triumphs

Since the DREAM Act was passed by the federal government in June of 2012, stories have been circulating of participants’ hardships and triumphs. The DREAM Act gives children of undocumented immigrants the opportunity to work toward a visa without fear of deportation. Participants must complete college in the U.S. or commit to military service.

According to USA Today, Jose Patino received word through the mail that he had been accepted into the DREAM program. The 24-year-old Phoenix resident celebrated with his family. The next day, he got his work permit, which he believed would help him get a job in engineering.

Patino graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in mechanical engineering, but with no legal papers he could not apply for jobs in his field. Instead, Patino worked in construction to make ends meet. When he received the permit, he applied for engineering jobs. However, Patino’s permit only lasted two years, and most companies did not want a temporary worker.

Patino is still struggling to find a job, and his story struggle is not uncommon. The two-year time period is a complication many employers do not want to handle.

According to SF Gate, Terrance Park has lived in the U.S. since his parents snuck into the U.S. he was 10. The California DREAM Act allowed Park to apply for financial aid when it was time to attend college. The legislation gave students who were brought into the U.S. illegally before their 16th birthday, and who attended school on a regular basis and met in-state residency and GPA requirements, the opportunity to apply for college financial aid benefits.

While the California DREAM Act helped Park afford school, the national DREAM Act is what will make or break his future. Park has been accepted to a biostatistics graduate program at Yale. The two years he would be afforded under the national DREAM Act would allow him to complete the program.