BOULDER, Colo. –

Despite having been raised in this country and acquiring customs as native-born Americans, including speaking the English fluently, undocumented immigrants cannot advance within society and further their education.

Not being a legal resident or citizen of the U.S. has not only kept college-aspiring students from furthering their education, but has also caused many kids to drop out of high school altogether.

Policies such as the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, if passed, will aid undocumented high school graduates in attending college, and more Latino students will have the opportunity to pursue higher education, and be able to upgrade their social status.

Currently, high school graduates who are undocumented immigrants in the United States have to pay international tuition rates if they wish attend an institution of higher education.

Even though they have completed the U.S. school system, and have the same education as a native born or a legal resident, because of their legal status, many can’t obtain financial aid, scholarships or certain school loans.

The best option for undocumented students to attend college and decrease minority high school dropouts is for the DREAM Act to take affect. The legislation has been introduced at the federal level in the past and may be re-introduced this year.

If the act were to take effect, illegal immigrants who have graduated from an American high school would have the opportunity to attend college and pay in-state tuition, as well as qualify for financial aid, school loans and certain scholarships.

This legislation would also allow these students the opportunity to apply for residency so they can obtain jobs in the U.S. after obtaining a college degree.

Currently, the Colorado Legislature is considering tuition equity legislation (SB170). This legislation would grant Colorado high school graduates the opportunity to attend a Colorado school paying in-state tuition. Even though it does not grant them residency, it still provides these college aspiring students the tools and the education to succeed in the world.

If you would like this legislation to pass, please contact your local representative.

Approximately 65,000 illegal immigrants graduate from high school each year. With few options, most of these students end up working illegally in a country.

They didn’t choose the United States as their home, giving up on further education and dreams of a better life. Why should they be considered “criminals” and have there rights taken away when the majority of them were brought here under they age of 10?

These students should be given the right to a better life. They shouldn’t be blamed for a decision that was made by someone else.

Cynthia Molina is a University of Colorado senior and is the director of politics and advocacy in the Latin@ Student Alliance.