The Dream Act and Its Sociological Explanation

TheDream Act and Its Sociological Explanation


TheDream Act and Its Sociological Explanation

Social movementsdenote a form of group action usually large that focus on particularsocial or political issues. In this regards, they engage in socialchange, by resisting some changes, execute, or undoing. Over theyears, the movements have become popular due to increasedcivilization, education, increased freedom of expression, comparativeeconomic freedom, and labor mobility. It is alongside this frameworkthat the paper will emphases on the Dream Act as well as thesociological explanation of its presence. DenotingDevelopment, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, thesocial movement or the act refers to an American statutory proposalpresented first by Orrin Hatch and Dick Durbin in the Senate in 2001(Guzmán &amp Jara, 2012). The bill soughtto proffer provisional permanent residency to particular émigrés ofdecent moral personality graduating from US schools who arrived inthe US as juveniles, and have resided in the country always for noless than five years prior to the bill’s passage. However, the billfailed to become law both in the Congress and the Senate thus, ithas created a social movement with supporters of the movementasserting that it will produce a variety of economic and socialbenefits. In this regards, the discourse will offer a sociologicalexplanation of the Dream Act as well as provide sociological conceptsand theories that help explain the existence of the movement.


America has ahuge number of undocumented immigrants. In fact, as per the U.S.Census Bureau (2011), around 10.8 population of America consists ofMexican American. Considering that the country has other immigrantsfrom other countries, the issue of immigrants has become a criticalissue and a cause of public debate for years. In fact, Gonzales(2009) asserts that the dysfunction in American immigration is moreevident in the area of unsanctioned immigration, considering Americahas more than 38 million immigrants. A number of Americans think thatimmigrants cause the country a significant economic loss. However,the undocumented immigrants in America execute dirty, dangerous, anddifficult work often referred to 3Ds, which sustain the US economylargely. Illegal or undocumented immigrants in America face manychallenges such as discrimination, arrests, and difficult workingconditions. However, the main root of disquiet is the immigrants’children who cannot own passports, work legally, or prove theirnationality. These children can attend High Schools, but it isdifficult for them to attend Colleges and Universities because mostState Universities fail to accept the entrance of undocumentedimmigrants. As such, the American government suggested the Dream Actto help these children.

Theories on themovement

Gonzales (2009) asserts that the Dream Actmovement has entered the mainstream as the fight for immigrationrelief has accelerated. In addition, the act has progressedremarkably against the backdrop of state-level efforts to enforceimmigration laws vigorously. Young people have advocated for theDream Act as it pursues to provide dynamic social change, which willsee the creation of a governmental path for immigration relief. Inaddition, the deferred action directive announced by President Obamaon June 2012, gave the dreamers a chance to apply for provisional,renewable extradition relief and work permits. In fact, the act hasseen a lot of political lobbying bearing in mind that it has beendiscussed in the Congress and the Senate. In addition, it has allowedpeople to build connections with various themes on Facebook, Twitter,YouTube, and other websites calling for the Dream Act and passage ofmeasures related to inclusiveness. Several sociological theoriesexplain the existence of the Dream Act movement, mainly the politicalprocess theory, relative deprivation, and resource mobilization.Olivas (2009) suggests that the movement has developed remarkably dueto disparities that people experience each day, especially relativeto other people and their prospects. This supports the emergence ofthe movement because of the relative deprivation theory, whichmaintains that people drive into movements out of a sense ofinequality. In fact, most member of the act consist of student in theDreamers category i.e. immigrant students who qualify for thestipulations of the act. On the other hand, the government hasengaged multiple times on the movement thus, the resourcemobilization theory helps to explain the emergence of the movement.Under this theory, organizations play a key role in acquiring anddeploying resources for use. These resources as used in the movementinclude moral, material, cultural, human, and social-organizational.Finally, political lobbying has allowed the movement to developprogressively thus, its relation to political resource theory, whichasserts that participation and political concessions promote socialmovements.

Concepts andsociological explanation

The lack of alegal acceptance of undocumented immigrants has resulted to racialprofiling as well caused various problems from a sociologicalperception. In this regards, Glenn (2011) contends that the Dream Actdevelops a sociological notion of citizenship, especially thesubstantive citizenship, as principally a matter of belongingincluding recognition by other members of the society. Undocumentedimmigrants lack the wherewithal and the legal capacities to pursuetheir education undeterred. In fact, Glenn (2011) asserts that theirexperience in school is chiefly illuminating they inhabit asituation of liminal validity that surpasses fixed groupings such asillegal and legal. In fact, most settings deny these immigrants theirstandings thus, they lack the inclusive conception existent in otherpeople. These undocumented immigrants lack citizenship, anomnirelevant concept that allows inclusion into the society. In thisregards, the Dream Act movement proffers to highlight thesignificance of citizenship, a concept that influences political andsocial participation and development as well as influence the livesand social development of people. The Dream Act asserts that the lackof nationality, which the undocumented immigrants lack, affectshousehold development and may actually fracture families byseparating members.

On the otherhand, Glenn (2011) asserts that the current American judicial systemdoes not recognize undocumented immigrants, which result to exclusionfrom citizenship. In this regards, these immigrants lack the legalstatus of nationality, which apart from causing racial profilingresults to social inequalities. The Dream Act pursues to offerimmigrant minors a chance to pursue their education as well as thecitizenry of America. As such, granting of the legal status wouldplace the children on the same level like other Americans and end thedisadvantaged scenarios that they usually experience. The movementgives the children a chance to enjoy labor and education rightsenjoyed by other members of the society.

Donnor&amp Dixson (2013) assert that the sociological comprehensionof identity is a procedure of specifying and placing oneself insocially fabricated classifications. In this regards, identity is asocially bestowed, sustained, and transformed concept, which allowspeople to commit to development of a society. However, undocumentedimmigrants especially lack this social identity thus, they cannotmanage to undertake in the social and economic building through thelegal paths. In fact, Donnor &amp Dixson (2013)contend that schools have had comprehensive successes in supportingthe growth of an American commitment and identity among unauthorizedimmigrants. However, most of these children do not go past highschool due to lack of legal status and they often end up engaging inlowly paid jobs. The Dream Act does not pursue to offer thesechildren some form of amnesty or reward them, but is seeks to developidentity and commitment. Guzmán &amp Jara(2012) assert that the passage of the Dream Act would add asum of roughly US$329 billion to the US economy by 2030 since it ispeople of decent behavior and pursuing education who would enjoy fromthe passage. By granting lawful immigration eminence to roughly 2.1million juvenile people and incentivizing education, the act wouldnot burden America, but it would provide economic and socialbenefits. In addition, past successes of the movement suggest thatAmerica would benefit from increased social change, participation,commitment, decreased family’s dysfunctions, and decreased criminalactivities.


Guzmán&amp Jara (2012) through studies demonstrate that Dreamers wouldwork legally, which would result to around US$148 billion and furthereducation would mean increased spending and savings thus, thecountry would see increased spending, creation of new jobs,generation of revenue, and increased induced economic effect. Themovement has seen numerous political concessions and participations,which have allowed it to appeal to numerous people. Althoughproponents of the movement claim that it is a way of rewardingcriminal activities, the movement pursues to stop racial profiling,offer citizenship to decent immigrants, offer social and economicbenefits to Americans, and create administration paths for identity.


Donnor, J. K., &amp Dixson, A. (Eds.).(2013).&nbspThe resegregation ofschools: education and race in the twenty-first century.Routledge.

Glenn, E. N. (2011). Constructing Citizenship Exclusion,Subordination, and Resistance. American Sociological Review, 76(1),1-24.

Gonzales, R. G. (2009). Young Lives on Hold: TheCollege Dreams of Undocumented Students.&nbspCollegeBoard Advocacy &amp Policy Center.

Guzmán, J. C., &amp Jara, R. C. (2012). Theeconomic benefits of passing the DREAM Act.&nbspCenterfor American Progress and Partnership for a New American Economy.

Olivas, M. A. (2009). Political Economy of the Dream Act and theLegislative Process: A Case Study of Comprehensive ImmigrationReform, The.&nbspWayne L. Rev.,&nbsp55, 1757.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2011, May 1). The Hispanic Population: 2010.Retrieved March 29, 2015, from