Mercy Students Would Benefit from DREAM Act
By Sister Gaye M.
We are among the Sisters of Mercy who served in some capacity with the Mercy Migrant Education Ministry’s San Jose School. This was a mobile school operated from 1994 to 2001 for children of migrant farmworkers who, year after year, travelled annually from Ohio to Florida to pick crops.
Most of our students are now in high school; many are undocumented immigrants. For those of us who were privileged to serve in our Institute-sponsored ministry, passage of the DREAM Act is personal and urgent.
Miguelita is representative of those who will benefit.
She arrived with her Mexican parents without documents 17 years ago, when she was an infant in arms. She and her family (including her four younger, U.S. citizen siblings) have lived here continuously since then, picking cucumbers and strawberries.
Spanish-speaking-only when she started kindergarten, Miguelita was soon excelling in the classroom and interpreting for her parents. From an early age, she also helped take care of her siblings and, like many migrant children, helped fold strawberry boxes for use in the fields and did household chores. Now, like many of our former students, she also works in the fields.
Responsible, kindly, humble, Miguelita is an honor-roll senior in both her Ohio and Florida schools. If you knew her, you’d trust her completely and delight in her company.
Unless the DREAM Act passes, she will remain ineligible for tuition assistance or other public benefits available for high school graduates who wish to attend college. Far worse, as she turns 18, if her undocumented status becomes known—perhaps the family van’s tail light is out, and she is stopped — she will be placed in removal proceedings and be deported to a country she has never known.
Please, for her sake and the sake of other deserving children, please pass the DREAM Act.
Eileen Dooling, RSM (Connecticut)
Sheila Browne, RSM (California)
Karlien Bach, RSM (New York)
Cristina Caballero, RSM (California)
Jennifer Lang, RSM (New York)
Maria Luisa Vera, RSM (Texas)
Michele Marie Schroeck, RSM (Pennsylvania)
Gaye Moorhead, RSM (Arizona)
Catherine McGroarty, RSM (Pennsylvania)