Meridith Kaufman, Asst. Opinion Editor

The United States is made up of immigrants. It was created by immigrants. It is being sustained by immigrants. Not many can say that their families are originally from America, and if you ask them where they are from, they won’t tell you a city like St. Louis – they’ll tell you they are German with some Italian too.

With such pride of where our ancestors are from, why do we all still discriminate against people who are coming to the United States now? Many people are upset about illegal immigrants coming in to the U.S. and say they take our jobs and ruin our economy, but these are jobs most would not take because they are at the bottom of the totem pole.

Even though these immigrants are illegal and probably don’t have bachelor or master’s degrees, they take these jobs because they are the only things that are available to them.

This is a reality that we need to deal with. No matter how many walls we build, blockades we create or raids the Immigration and Naturalization Services does, immigrants will keep coming, as we all did.

Right now, the U.S. has 12 million undocumented people living in it. Most are families. Many parents wanted more for their children; they wanted them to have a better life than they did before.

Now you’re probably asking, “So what?” Well, what about that little girl that is being pulled along as her parents are running for their lives, seen on that famous image plastered all over San Diego, Calif.; what happens to her?

Well, she’s introduced to the American culture and taught English. She’ll attend preschool and complete kindergarten through 12th grade without problems or symptoms of an illegal immigrant.

Public schools at the K-12 level do not ask for citizenship before they enroll a student. This is because the Supreme Court ruled that K-12 education was a basic right of all children (Plyler v. Doe).

All of these children, now numbering at two million, are undocumented and, when they turn 18, will not be able to vote, to drive, to work or to receive financial aid for college.

If these undocumented high school students choose to go to college, they must do what every student does. They must excel, succeed and achieve at a high level to be considered.

Then when they receive their acceptance letter and start looking at the tuition they will be paying, they see large numbers that they know they cannot afford.

They also see the financial aid that they won’t be eligible for, but will still pay for it in their tuition, so other eligible students can have it.

These two million undocumented students will work in sweatshops and low-paying jobs in the underground economy for years to pay for a college education.

It won’t be a 4-year plan or 5-year plan, but a plan that is decided and dictated by the less than minimum wage job that they are slaving over, just to pay for a college education, just to be in the United States.

Only 10 states have laws concerning undocumented students who attend college: California, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Washington.

All of their laws indicate that “undocumented students need to have attended [high school] for at least three years and graduated from a high school in their state of residence” in order to receive in-state tuition, as said by Educators for Fair Consideration.

The rest of the 40 states do not provide anything for undocumented students who had no control over being brought cross the border illegally.

On Friday, Nov. 13, Congress listened to a bill called the DREAM Act. It was created for undocumented students and it intends to “increase higher education opportunities for undocumented students,” as stated by the Educators for Fair Consideration.

It also intends to create citizenship opportunities for those undocumented students who arrived in the U.S. before they were 15, or at least five years before the bill’s enactment, and have completed three years of high school and received a diploma or a GED or completed three years of military service.

The DREAM Act is a bipartisan effort by Congress to address undocumented students who have excelled at everything we have asked of them.

It is a step forward for immigration policies. It is a huge leap for the two million undocumented students who will be able to accomplish their dreams with our help.

Yet, due to the controversy of illegal immigrants, trying to support a bill for Congress allows for Immigration and Naturalization Services to take extreme steps.

The last time that the DREAM Act was heard on Capitol Hill, an undocumented student spoke.

This student had graduated from UCLA and was going to Brown University on a full ride for her master’s degree.

Once the Immigration and Naturalization Services found out where she lived they raided her family’s house, taking both of her parents and holding them in a detention center for two months.

It took a Congressional Order to have her parents released, but they were then deported. And she went into hiding.

The Immigration and Naturalization Services uses this as a scare tactic.

Now, undocumented students do not want to speak up because they are afraid that they and their families will be targeted.

The actions of the Immigration and Naturalization Services are completely out of line and a severe violation of their rights given to them in the Constitution.

Yes, the Constitution gives illegal immigrants rights too. As the ACLU states, “It’s worth noting that the Bill of Rights NEVER uses the word citizen – it uses the word ‘person.’ This wasn’t an accident.”

So, even if a person is in the United States of America illegally, they still have certain inalienable rights that the rest of us do.

I know for many people the DREAM Act seems like it will only promote more illegal immigrants to bring their families over illegally, but it combats that by saying in the bill that the children must arrive in the U.S. at least five years before the bill is to be enacted.

Some students may think that their spots at a university will be jeopardized because of undocumented students receiving special treatment. This is untrue because undocumented students only make up 2 percent of all high school students applying for college.

Finally, some will respond that these undocumented students will be taking money from you and your education. Those against the DREAM Act will state that the law-abiding, tax-paying society will be paying for the education of people who are illegal and, therefore, do not pay taxes.

This is completely untrue because even undocumented workers are paying their state, federal and income taxes just like any one else.

We ask these students to do everything everyone else does, but we still take away the elements necessary for them to succeed.

We are punishing them for what their parents did. If we persecuted the children of members of the Ku Klux Klan for the crimes their parents committed, there would be an uproar. This is the same thing. Both sets of parents committed crimes, but neither set of children are to blame nor should be punished.