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Patrick Shares Own American Dream

Heights Staff

Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013

Updated: Thursday, April 4, 2013 03:04

Patrick Shares Own American Dream

Graham Beck // Heights Editor

On Tuesday, Apr. 2, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick spoke honestly and passionately about his opinions on immigration, and how social work is the platform for improving immigrants’ lives.

Patrick, who has served Massachusetts as governor since 2006, gave the keynote address for the Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) sponsored by the 30th Annual Mary Mason Field Supervisors Appreciation Event. The event is held every year to thank the field officers who work with GSSW students during their practicum in honor of Mary Mason, who served as field director for GSSW for 22 years.

Patrick got his start through a program in Chicago that helped minority students with strong academic ability achieve success. This program allowed Patrick to attend Milton Academy in Milton, Mass., and he went on to attend Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He was appointed to former President Bill Clinton’s administration as the Assistant Attorney General in Civil Rights division of the Department of Justice until 1999. Patrick called his story “improbable,” but possible through the help of social work.

Patrick began his address by expressing gratitude to all the field supervisors who attended for their impressive and extensive contributions to social work. He spoke of the controversies that surround the integration of immigrants into American mainstream life, but revealed several ways that immigration is vital to our country’s existence and success.

“[The United States] is organized around a set of civic ideals, and we’ve defined these ideals over time … as equality, opportunity, and fair play,” Patrick said. “All these values transcend race, ethnicity, religion, and other differences because they defy dogma. We have always been a beacon for strivers and thinkers from all over the world.”
Patrick spoke passionately about the American Dream, and explained that immigration is not only the foundation of the U.S., but also plays an intricate role in our economy’s growth and future. He said that often immigration is “detached from facts” and viewed as sour, and sometimes racist. He offered impressive statistics of the country’s industry advancements that can be credited to immigrants who created businesses and filled labor gaps. He explained that these immigrants are here for these ideals of equality and opportunity, and the American Dream.

Patrick continued to speak about immigration policy reform, and how “demonizing immigration denies who we are as Americans.” He spoke about the Dream Act, which would allow the children of immigrants who were born and raised in this country the ability to attend state universities with the same in-state tuition as American citizens. Patrick explained that the Dream Act is aligned with our country’s civic values, and how education is vital to the success of these children and young adults in improving their lives, and our country as a whole. He spoke passionately about deferring deportation, and how he is striving to close education gaps in Massachusetts to provide equal opportunity for learning to all students.

“If [the children of immigrants] grew up here, went to school here, and matured into responsible college applicants, then I believe they should have the same access as everybody else to the next rung on the education ladder, the rung, that will lead to productive citizenship,” Patrick said. “Giving all children access to quality education starting in their earliest years ensures their success and ours. It is the cornerstone of the American Dream.”
Patrick closed by explaining that the American Dream is a reality, and immigration and education are key to the advancing our success as a country and realizing that reality.

“The American Dream is more than the stuff of legend and folklore—it’s real. And it is especially real in the lives … of immigrants and those who work to make it real, and make it last.” Patrick said. “You cannot separate the American Dream from immigration, nor would we want to. Frankly, our future depends on it.”

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