Napolitano’s announcement granting deferred action to low-profile undocumented youth is an exciting step in the right direction for immigrants’ rights, the plight of many documented immigrant youth is left in the grey. These youth, the children of recruited professionals, immigrated to the United States legally under promises of citizenship and rights. Over a decade later, many of them are now too old to qualify for certain educational and professional benefits; they have not been granted citizenship, cannot work, and cannot afford school. Without identification many are subject to deportation. The Department of Homeland Security’s new DREAM policy greatly improves the status and general well being of nearly 800,000 foreign-born young adults who identify as American. However, we must NOT forget our documented youth fighting for the same rights.
We must include them in the DREAM Act and fight against “aging out.” If parents do not receive a green card by the time their child reaches 21, the dependent is considered an adult and “out” of status. This faulty and dysfunctional immigration process has left too many young-adults without residency. These DREAMERS are hard- working, determined, intelligent, and talented individuals with immense potential. The Black Institute’s report “DREAM Deferred: Black, Invisible, and Documented” is the first to shed light on the plight of our Caribbean immigrant youth, highlighting desperate circumstances of legal students unable to secure permanent status. Their educational and professional dreams will not be realities without their inclusion into the DREAM Act. We urge the passing of legislation to ‘provide benefits to any children of a professional immigrant recruited to serve the United States through public service at the local, state, or federal level, regardless of their age at the time of arrival or at the time of application for benefits’. Join The Black Institute, a non-for-profit “action tank” created to shape intellectual discourse and dialogue and impact public policy uniquely from a Black perspective, in supporting our youth. Read our “DREAM Deferred” report online at Theblackinstitute.org, and help us get documented DREAMers their rights!