My name is Sam and I am 28 years old. I am a college graduate and I am a DREAMer as everybody else in here. The recent failure to pass the federal Dream Act has made me realize that even though I love the U.S. Maybe I am not destined to be here.
I have tried everything I can to live a good life post college. However, it seems that every time I receive a good job offer my immigration status fails to impede my progress. I decided to switch careers to become an ESL teacher. I have been looking for jobs abroad and have been teaching ESL online. It’s not a glamorous job nor is it financially fulfilling.
I read about the New York Dream Act and I had some high hopes. I was just wondering if you have the time estimates on when the bill will likely pass or fail. I know it seems selfish to ask the government to rush it. However, I am not getting any younger and my dream to have an actual career post college and not a job should not be limited to just the U.S.
I know that it needs to assigned to a committee and then likely discussed in the assembly. I just want to know if Sen. Perkins discusses a timeline with your organization about the Act and what we should do in the meantime.
So what advice would you be able to give me? I am hoping that the New York Dream Act would be voted on this year since it’s more likely to pass rather than the Federal one. I have four younger brothers, me being the oldest, and I feel responsible for helping my parents take care of them. Does your group offer job placement assistance? I have an offer to teach in China but it’s for peanuts to be honest because of my nationality. But being jobless at 28 and a college graduate makes me feel inadequate.
it’s nice to E-meet you and I’m hoping my response came just in time, sorry for the delay.
Regarding the New York Dream Act, the legislative session has come to an end which means the bill won’t be up for a vote this year and we suspect it will be placed for a vote some time in January. Again, this does not mean it will pass immediately or fail just because we live in New York. We also need to put up a fight and get support from our elected officials since the New York Dream Act can be a bit controversial. The New York Dream Act can also be used as a political game and not be brought up at all. It’s hard to predict exactly what is going to happen since most of the time they just use us and our energy but this doesn’t mean we will stop trying. That is why we are coordinating various legislative meetings with different politicians in the hopes that they will co-sponsor the New York Dream Act. We need to get their support before it even comes up for a vote.
We are working with professional lawyers to write a second draft of the bill since some politicians, who are undecided about their vote, are asking for another draft. We try to keep everyone updated on these things on our website and in our meetings so we hope you or your siblings can make it. Also, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for more in depth conversation about this; she is our legislative coordinator.
Aside from politicians we also need to inform our community on the issues that affect undocumented youth, how the college application process is like, what the New York Dream Act is and how others can be involved in this campaign. One of the many ways we are doing this is by holding trainings, both inside and outside of our office, as well as our mentorship program which follows high school seniors through the various stages of their educational life until the completion of their first semester in college. Unofficially we have worked with them regarding work, held ITIN trainings in our meetings and if we hear about a job we’ll forward it but our work force program is still in the making.
We are also having Town Halls; our first one ever was in Staten Island and we will be having one in Brooklyn this Saturday. Another way in which we are spreading the word is by helping create Dream Teams on all New York campuses and communities. If you, or anyone you know, wants to get involved with Dream Teams please email us at email@example.com
I like the fact that you are assertive when it comes to your career goals. Before the New York Dream ACt comes up for a vote we cannot sit around and wait for things to happen, which is exactly what you’re doing. I know changing what you wanted to do must have been very difficult and stressful. I hope all of us will be able to work in our careers of choice some day. If you do decide to work abroad remember there is a ban for leaving the United States. Speak to an immigration professional. I cannot tell you to leave or to stay, that is a conversation you must have with yourself and with your family. I support whichever one you make. Always weigh all your options before taking such a big step.
There are also some youth who have opened their own business depending on what their skills are; consider looking into that option and its requirements.
I’m sorry your siblings may, or already are, in this same situation. I too am an older sister and all we wish is for their success and safety. I suggest being there as guidance and support for them since you’ve been through this crazy labyrinth already, compared to us older siblings that were the trail and error guinea pigs. Yes it will be difficult watching them go through the same struggles you went through, but at least they won’t be alone trying to figure out their next steps and have you for a role model. You’ve accomplished great things and there is nothing to feel inadequate about. With or without papers you’re making a career path for yourself.
Something I’ve come to understand is that having papers isn’t going to fix our situation from one day to the next. Many citizens are in a worse situations than we are. We may still struggle even if we do get documentation and that is why I believe we shouldn’t put all of our hopes on the federal or state Dream Acts. If it passes yay and if it fails we cannot fall apart or feel like there is no road for us to follow.
Email or fill out this form with any questions, concerns, comments or just your own story. This is a space to let it all out! You don’t have to bottle it up inside. Whatever you write is up to you and you will not be judged. Your stories and worries matter! You are not alone. Remember, the insecurities and fears you have, someone else is them having too. Don’t be afraid to speak out.
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The views expressed by the author on this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSYLC)