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Wilson Four case highlights issues of immigration which has been one of the major problems experienced by the United States. Fortunately, the Wilson Four case never impacted the four students because it was thrown out by a federal immigration judge for racial profiling. According to the judge, the border officials targeted the four students just because they were Hispanic (Gonzalez, 2005). The Wilson Four highlight challenges faced by children who are brought to the United States (U.S) when they are young. For instance, these children have limited opportunities to work in the U.S and are at a risk of deportation. In some States like Arizona, these children are explicitly barred from qualifying for in-state tuition irrespective of the number of years they have lived in the State. Also, undocumented children face the dilemma of applying for citizenship in order to get some federal aid because they fear this may expose their undocumented status and face immediate deportation even if they perform extremely well in academic (Androff, Ayon, Becerra, Gurrola, & Salas, 2011).
The DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been critical in helping children who were brought to the U.S without authorization. However, its opponents are wondering why children brought to the U.S before the age of 15 and lived there for over years have been allowed to graduate high school and even gone ahead to join colleges. Worst of all, their immigration status is adjusted to a legal permanent residence in the U.S (Androff, Ayon, Becerra, Gurrola, & Salas, 2011). The opponents have over the years criticized such legislation in the U.S Congress but voted down. Allowing children who have lived in the U.S for over five years and were brought while they were younger than 15 years is a better fit with social work values and ethics. This is because social work entails guarding the rights and promoting the psychological health of individuals at risk, who in this case are young children who are only exploited for political purposes (Staub-Bernasconi, 2016).
Unequivocally, illegal immigration is a serious problem in the U.S. Any undocumented person living in the country is an illegal immigrant and so are the Wilson Four because their stay in the U.S was undocumented. However, the DREAM Act could help children brought to the U.S when they were young to attain residency as long as they meet stipulated conditions, potentially qualify for permanent residency (Uwemedimo, 2017).
Social workers have a role to play to address the needs and challenges of undocumented immigrants at micro, mezzo and macro levels of practice for this population. It’s a fact that majority of illegal immigrants are poor, perhaps the primary reason that drives them to the U.S (Hancock, 2007). Since they only have few skills, as a macro level measure, social workers should advocate for the introduction of a more open door policy that would allow undocumented immigrants to develop their talents. One of the biggest challenges faced by children illegally brought to the U.S when they were young is access to education because many of them are denied financial help such as loans and grants from the U.S government. Social workers should work to change United States educational policies that require talented undocumented children to pay out of state tuition. This will allow them to access education in community colleges and state universities in the U.S.
Other than the inability to learn and get employment in the U.S, undocumented immigrants are often treated harshly and their rights violated (Hancock, 2007). At Mezzo level, social workers should equate the unfair treatment of undocumented immigrants especially on matters that violate their rights. Thus, social workers should always protect the rights of this undocumented group. At the micro level, a social worker has an obligation to assist undocumented immigrant by providing him/her with resources and tools necessary for achieving individual success and strong families.
The best way to address challenges of Wilson Four and other students who may be in such a situation could be through standing strong for the protection of the DREAM and DACA programs. As a social worker, I would fight for these Acts to remain in force because they have helped to address nearly all issues facing undocumented immigrant students. The DREAM Act and DACA program have allowed many young immigrants (dreamers) to obtain a work permit and avoid deportation (Uwemedimo, 2017). Students in a similar situation like that of Wilson Four should be advised to obtain DACA which will allow them to continue their education and later join the workforce in the U.S. However, the barrier that could be faced is termination of the DACA program by the government. For instance, on 17th September 2017, president Trump announced that he will end Obama’s DACA immigration program which may leave thousands of undocumented immigrant students in darkness to achieve their dreams (Uwemedimo, 2017). This barrier may be reduced through the formation of lobby groups who will fight for the protection of DACA program. Also, the courts will be involved to block scrapping of the DACA program.
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