Tulsans Urge Passage Of DREAM Act In Fight For Immigration Reform

Thursday, May 17th 2012, 6:18 pm
By: News On 6

Undocumented Tulsans take to the street to fight for immigration reform.

They're asking Congress to approve the DREAM Act to help undocumented children go to college or join the military.

The DREAM Act, which President Obama supports, has been on the table for more than a decade.

Critics say it's another way to reward illegal aliens, supporters say it helps children become productive members of society.

They gathered under the midday sun to demand immigration reform.

"I just want to say that we're normal people," undocumented resident Ivan said.

Ivan is 24 years old and a Tulsa Public Schools graduate. He came to the U.S. with his mother from Mexico when he was 14 years old.

"Any child shouldn't be punished for the decisions of their parents," Ivan said.

Thursday he joined other immigrants in a public show of support for the DREAM Act.

It makes children who illegally entered the United States with their parents eligible for citizenship by giving them a green card.

The child must first graduate from high school and then either go to college for two years or join the military.

"It's just helping a person, a fellow human being out and help them up and rest them up so we can have a better world, a better place," said Paul Gonzalez, a DREAM Act supporter.

But not everyone thinks the act is so dreamy.

"Oh, it's a nightmare," said Carol Helm, of Immigration Reform for Oklahoma Now.

Carol Helm is with Immigration Reform for Oklahoma Now.

She says allowing illegal residents to go to college and take student loans away from legal citizens would be just one more burden on taxpayers.

She also says the parents of those children knew what they were doing when they broke the law to come in to the country and they should not be rewarded.

"When they set foot in this country illegally they knew what they were doing to their children," Helm said.

These immigrants say all they want is a better life for children who had no say whether to enter the United States.

"I just want to make sure that people know that we are everywhere and everyone probably knows someone that is undocumented, they just don't know they are," Ivan said. "We're just normal people."

Republican Florida Senator Marco Rubio has proposed a version of the DREAM Act that would create a new category of citizenship for certain individuals.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has not endorsed that proposal but says it has some commendable features.