Tag Archives: Dream Act

Part Two: DREAM Act

“Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2013.” allows for Adjustment of Status for Certain Aliens who entered the U.S. as children.  Applicant must demonstrate that he or she:

  • Has been an RPI for at least five years;
  • Entered initially the U.S. before the age of 16;
  • Has earned a H.S. diploma or GED in the U.S.;
  • Obtained a degree from an institution of higher education or completed at least two years of a bachelor’s program, or served at least four years in Uniformed Services and, if discharged, received an honorable discharge (may be waived for compelling circumstances); and
  • Has provided a list of each secondary school that the applicant attended in the U.S.;
  • Has passed an English/civics test, unless the applicant has a physical or developmental disability or mental impairment; and
  • Has submitted new biometric and biographic data and passed background checks.

Certain Applicants will receive streamlined or enhanced processing:

  • Streamlined adjustment of status procedures for DACA recipients.
  • Allows DREAM Act LPRs to apply for U.S. citizenship immediately upon becoming green card holders.
  • Provides individuals who adjust status under these provisions are not subject to the numerical limitations on visas.
  • Allowed to be charged “in-state” tuition rates at publicly funded institutions of higher learning.

Talking Points on “DREAM Act”

THE DREAM ACT: A CENTRAL ELEMENT OF REFORM
The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S. 729/H.R. 1751) is a bipartisan bill that would provide a conditional six-year pathway to legal permanent residence for certain unauthorized youth who, as children, were brought to the U.S. if they: complete high school; demonstrate good moral character; and complete at least two years of higher education or serve for at least two years in the U.S. military. The bill also would also repeal section 505 of the Illegal Immigrant Reform and Immigrant Reconciliation Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) that prohibits states from providing any higher education benefit based on residency to unauthorized immigrants unless they provide the same benefit to U.S. citizens in the same circumstances, regardless of their residence.


THE DREAM ACT CAN STRENGTHEN THE U.S. ECONOMY

The students who would benefit under the DREAM Act have been raised and educated in the U.S. and by allowing them to pursue a higher education, we are investing in the future of our country and our economy.
•  Communities, states, and nation would reap significant benefits from the DREAM Act. A RAND study showed that a 30-year-old Mexican immigrant woman who graduated from college will pay $5,300 more in taxes and cost $3,900 less in government expenses each year than if she had dropped out of high school. This amounts to an annual fiscal benefit of over $9,000 every year, money that can be used to pay for the education of others.
•  DREAM Act beneficiaries will make up part of the educated workforce needed to help the U.S. compete in the global economy. In our globalized world, their multilingual and bicultural skills, and contributions are more important than ever to the success and global competitiveness of the United States.

CURRENT LAW PROVIDES NO WAY FOR THESE CHILDREN TO ACHIEVE LEGAL STATUS

•  Due to the undocumented status of their parents and other family members, they have no available avenues for family-based visa sponsorship.
•  Few employers would or could sponsor them for a work visa due to their age and lack of work experience. Even if an employer was willing to sponsor them, the process takes precious years that these children cannot afford to waste.

STATES SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE WHO QUALIFIES FOR IN-STATE TUITION

•  States are required to invest in elementary and secondary education for undocumented children, but can’t collect on the return. However, when states are ready to earn a return on their investment through a highly educated workforce, they are barred from offering in-state tuition to these children. The states (and their taxpayers) have the right to earn this return.
•  States should have the authority to determine how they allocate their resources. Such an educational investment pays dividends for the states by reducing the dropout rate, leading to substantial savings in criminal justice costs and the use of public benefits, and sharply increasing the taxes paid by those benefiting from this initiative. AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 09043072. (Posted 3/19/10).

THIS BILL REFLECTS A BALANCED APPROACH TO REFORM AND MUST BE PART OF ANY COMPREHENSIVE EFFORT TO OVERHAUL OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS

•  This measure would require children to have lived in the U.S. for a number of years and to have no criminal record.
•  This measure would require eligible children to dedicate themselves to learning English and succeeding in our educational system.
•  This measure proposes a one-time only fix that would not encourage illegal immigration.

This measure recognizes that the status quo needs to be reformed by granting children the means to continue their education and legalize their status. Such reform works for children and works for America.

What’s “DEFERRED ACTION” ?

“Deferred action” amounts to an excercise of favorable discretion by the authorities, which allows an individual to remain temporarily in the United States and apply for work authorization. It does not confer any kind of permanent residence, nor can it be seen as a form of amnesty.

Under this new initiative, deferred action would be granted for two year increments and would be renewable.

According to DHS, people may apply for deferred action if they meet all the following criteria:

  • came to the U.S. under the age of 16;
  • are not above the age of 30;
  • have resided in the U.S. for 5 consecutive years as of the date of the memo;
  • are currently in school, have graduated from high school, obtained a GED or have been honorably discharged from the armed forces; and
  • have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanors, multiple misdemeanors or who do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Specifically, DHS advised that:

Effective immediately, ICE, CBP, and USCIS agents should not place individuals into removal proceedings who meet the above criteria.

For those already IN immigration proceedings and who have been offered administrative closure under the previous prosecutorial discretion program, ICE will begin making determinations about deferred action immediately. For other persons who are in removal proceedings, ICE is directed to implement the program within 60 days.

For those NOT in removal proceedings, which is the vast majority of individuals affected by the new announcement, USCIS has been directed to devise a plan within 60 days that allows people 15 and older to affirmatively apply for both deferred action and work authorization (those granted deferred action through ICE will apply to USCIS for work authorization as well). People with final orders of removal will also apply to USCIS.

DREAM Act heading for debate… glimmer of hope.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would attach the so-called “DREAM Act” to a Defense authorization bill expected to come before the Senate as early as next week.

While both Democrats and Republicans acknowledge a desperate need of reform, it will be interesting to see if Congress can get its Act (pun intended) together and transcend its bipartisan bickering and make something happen.

First introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act would address the plight of young immigrants who have been raised in the U.S. and managed to succeed despite the challenges of being brought to the U.S. without proper documentation. The proposal would offer a path to legal status to those who have graduated from high-school, have stayed out of trouble and plan to attend college or serve in the U.S. military for at least two years.

According to the Immigration Policy Center, research has shown that providing a legal status for young people who have a proven record of success in the United States would be a boon to the economy and the U.S. workforce.  University presidents and educational associations, as well as military recruiters, business and religious leaders have added their voice to those calling for passage of the bill. Foreign-born students represent a significant and growing percentage of the current student population. Unfortunately, immigration status and the associated barriers to higher education contribute to a higher-than-average high dropout rate, which costs taxpayers and the economy billions of dollars each year.

The DREAM Act would eliminate these barriers for many students, and the DREAM Act’s high school graduation requirement would provide a powerful incentive for students who might otherwise drop out to stay in school and graduate. This will help boost the number of high skilled American-raised workers.  As they take their place in the workplace as hard working, taxpaying Americans, they will contribute a lifetime of revenues at the local, state and federal level.

“DREAM ACT” Introduced in U.S. Senate and House

Some aspects of Immigration Reform are starting to materialize in Congress.

This week, Senators Durbin and Lugar introduced the DREAM Act  in the Senate while Representatives Berman and Diaz-Ballart did the same in the House.   Immediately below is background information on the DREAM Act.

DREAM Act
(based on prior Senate proposal in 2007)

Who is eligible?
Those who would qualify under this act include undocumented immigrants who meet ALL of the following criteria:

§         Graduated from a United States high school by the time they apply for relief.
§         Must have lived continuously in the United States for a minimum of 5 years, on the date of the DREAM Act enactment.
§         Entered the U.S. before the age of 16.
§         Under 30 years of age
§         Can demonstrate good moral character and do not have a criminal record.
§         Attended a college / university for 2 years, OR served in the US military for 2 years either before or after enactment.

What are the benefits for those who qualify?

§         Lawful permanent resident status (a green card)
§         Access to federal financial aid
§         States will be permitted to allow eligible students to obtain resident tuition status

Why is this necessary?

The DREAM Act would address the immigration status and educational barriers confronted by U.S.-raised children of undocumented immigrants.  (These statistics are from 2007 version of this information.)

§         Currently, there are 2.7 million immigrant children in U.S. schools grade K-12 and of those 1 million are undocumented immigrants.

§         Every year 50-65,000 students graduate from American high schools, but face limited prospects for continuing their education because they were originally brought to the United States by parents lacking immigration status. Among these students are valedictorians, honors students and student leaders.

§         Many students are prevented from attending college because they cannot afford out-of-state tuition and do not qualify for Pell grants or student loans. In addition, without a lawful permanent resident “green card” students are not eligible for many scholarships, in-state tuition, federal loans, or grants.