Thursday, April 27, 2006

Robot Dreams

This article in the NY Times today about an undocumented immigrant student in an East Harlem high school makes a pretty compelling case for passing the DREAM Act, which would allow many undocumented students that graduate high school in the US to attend college and get on a path to citizenship. The article focuses on Amadou Ly, an undocumented immigrant from Senegal and a member of a robotics team that made the national finals against all odds. Amadou can't fly down to Atlanta for the competition because he doesn't have an ID to get on the plane, and he is worried about not getting into the building where the competition is being held for the same reason. And while the fact that this kid might be prevented from taking part in a robotics competition because of his immigration status is ridiculous, the really crazy part of the story is that he won't be able to attend college because he does not qualify for financial aid. He also might be deported, simply because he came here "illegally" with his mother. It seems like Amadou is exactly the kind of student that we should be encouraging to go to college (read the article for glowing reports from teachers and friends).

Amadou's story also shows how ridiculous the immigration legislation passed by the House, which would make the presence of undocumented immigrants a felony. I don't think we should be punishing immigrants for wanting to work and for doing jobs that most Americans won't do, and it is certainly wrong to punish kids that came here with their parents, especially ones that are completing high school and want to go to college.

1 comment:

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

There are no jobs that Americans won't do. There are jobs that Americans can't do for the wages that they pay.