There is a certain irony tied to the concept of the American Dream, an irony that calls into question the very idea of being an American. Many Americans see the American Dream, the idea that success in this country can be achieved through hard work and diligence, as the defining feature of American culture.
But the fact of the matter is that, often those who work the hardest in this country, those who pay for their success with their own blood, sweat, and tears, are immigrants or the sons and daughters of immigrants.
In other words, the American Dream is there for America’s Dreamers.
Karan Singh, a 23-year-old sophomore studying computer science at St. John’s University, is one of those Dreamers seeking to carve out a small piece of America’s success for himself and his family.
But because of his status as a Dreamer, having been brought to this country illegally from India’s Punjab region at seven years old, he believes finding a stable footing in America, both financial and political, has been made needlessly difficult.
“It feels like things are harder for us. We don’t get treated the same way,” he said, referencing the fact that the legislation that created the Dreamers, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act (DACA), denies them access to federal financial aid, like subsidized loans.
This fact makes it almost impossible for Dreamers to attend most private universities, since without federal aid, the costs are prohibitively high.
In Singh’s case, he was fortunate enough to receive sizeable scholarships that cover most of his bill at St. John’s, scholarships he earned due to his dedication and high performance in high school.
“Really, [the scholarships] are the only reason I came here. Without them, I probably would have gone to a CUNY.”
But there are many other Dreamers in this country like Singh, Dreamers who worked just as hard as he, but could not attend a university due to a lack of support.
Despite the recent turmoil regarding the White House’s policy on DACAA, and the institutional obstacles in his way, Singh looks to the future optimistically.
“I know what I want to do with my life, and honestly, I don’t mind the work. It takes time, but I’m certain I can do it.”