Dreamers Are Americans; Don't Pretend Otherwise

I came here when I was seven. It wasn’t my choice. My parents made it for me. We gave up most of our belongings, travelled across multiple countries and were constantly low on money and food. We arrived broke in the US after almost a year of travel and my parents went to work; toiling away at labor-intensive jobs for low pay. Decades later, I'm still here; living, studying and working in my adopted homeland. So what’s the difference between me and a DREAMER?

Nothing.

You might argue that there’s a “big difference”. My family came over legally. That’s where the difference ends. We both grew up in this country. We both went to school here. We both speak English. We both live the culture and are productive members of society. Here are their stories. Mine is no different. Does it matter what our parents did decades ago?

It’s too late for it to matter.

If you sent me back to Ukraine, I wouldn’t know the first place to go. I don’t even speak Ukrainian! If you sent my father back, he wouldn’t recognize the country he left. It’s one of the most unethical things I can think of for a government to do to someone. Let them stay. The guidelines are fairly strict; we'd still be able to deport criminals. It's a practical solution to a difficult problem.

No, I don’t support or advocate for an open border policy.

I believe in enforcing our borders. I support having immigration quotas. I support speedy due process and action for people who come here without permission; after a court decides whether they should be granted asylum or deported. We need to make sure all who come here have permission, are documented and screened. However, if we allow someone to come here and settle down for decades, then we’ve effectively made them citizens.  

They should not pay the price for inept government.

Our process for determining a person's legal status needs serious re-vamping. We need more immigration judges, border agents and streamlined processes to quickly determine who does and does not get asylum; but we don’t have that. We have a system that allows large numbers of people to come here without permission, settle down and join our society; without being noticed by the most powerful government in the world. Whose fault is that?

Voters. Legal immigrants and born citizens.

We pretend to care on Facebook but choose to ignore this problem. We let our politicians ignore it. Meanwhile the number of people living here without documents for over 10 years is growing:

So what do we do with the people who’ve been here for a long time; and who will likely be here for another 5-10 years before a law is passed to address the issue? 

Let them stay, just like DREAMERS. Make the legal requirements the same. 

There’s no point in doing otherwise. It’s not that “we can’t let this happen”. It’s already happened. 11% of the job market already depends on this population and no, they're not taking away jobs. If that’s not good enough for you, then consider it would take unimaginable resources to deport 11 million people. A better use of our time and money would be to improve the legal immigration process and enforce our borders; the Mexico and Canada lines, at airports and seaports. The problem will cease to exist within just a few years.

Let’s do it and move on.