Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) introduced the Dream Act of 2017, S. 1615, in the Senate on July 20, 2017. Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) introduced the Dream Act, H.R. 3440, in the House on July 26, 2017. This bipartisan, bicameral bill would provide Dreamers — young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and have lived in the U.S. at least four years — protection from deportation and an opportunity to obtain legal status if they meet certain requirements.
Almost 800,000 young undocumented immigrants, who came to America as children, have lived here since at least 2007 and met other requirements, are recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), through which they qualified for temporary protection from deportation and legal work authorization for a renewable period of two years.
What Would the Dream Act Do?
- The Dream Act would create a conditional permanent resident status valid for up to eight years for young undocumented immigrants that would protect them from deportation, allow them to work legally in the U.S. and permit them to travel outside the country.
- To qualify for conditional permanent resident status, young undocumented immigrants would need to meet the following requirements:
- Through documentation described in the bill, establish that they were brought to the U.S. at age 17 or younger and have lived continuously in the U.S. for at least four years prior to the bill’s enactment;
- Pass a government background check, demonstrate “good moral character” with no felony or multiple misdemeanor convictions, submit biometric and biographic data and undergo a biometric and medical exam;
- Demonstrate they have been admitted to a college or university, have earned a high school diploma, or are in the process of earning a high school diploma or an equivalent; and
- Pay a fee.
- The bill would automatically grant conditional permanent resident status to DACA recipients who still meet the requirements needed to obtain DACA.
- Conditional permanent resident status can be changed to lawful permanent resident status — green card holder — by:
- Maintaining continuous residence in the U.S.;
- Meeting one of the following three requirements:
1) Completion of at least two years of military service,
2) Graduation from a college or university or completion of at least two years of a bachelor’s or higher degree program in the U.S., or
3) Employment for a period totaling at least three years;
- Demonstrating an ability to read, write and speak English and a;n understanding of American history, principles and form of government;
- Passing a government background check, continuing to demonstrate “good moral character” without felony or multiple misdemeanor convictions, submitting biometric and biographic data and undergoing a biometric and medical exam; and
- Paying a fee.
- Recipients can lose conditional permanent resident status if they commit a serious crime or fail to meet the other requirements set in the bill.
Why the Dream Act Supports American Values
- The Dream Act is a bipartisan, legislative solution. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and other co-sponsors in the Senate and Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) support the Dream Act as a bipartisan legislative solution to address permanently the fate of young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives.
- The Dream Act helps the American economy. The bill would allow young undocumented immigrants to continue to contribute to their communities and the economy by working legally, paying their fair share of taxes and building businesses that hire American workers. Over the next 10 years, young undocumented immigrants who currently have DACA will contribute an estimated $433.4 billion to the GDP, $60 billion in fiscal impact, and $12.3 billion in taxes to Social Security and Medicare.
- The Dream Act supports our country’s values. The Dream Act treats young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — some as babies — fairly by providing a permanent legislative solution that allows them to stay in the U.S. The bill prevents Dreamers from deportation to a country where they did not grow up and many do not remember. It allows them to reach their full potential and have the opportunity to become American in the eyes of the law, contributing to a brighter future for all Americans.