DREAM Act Legislation
IMPORTANT UPDATES: A recent executive order given by the Obama administration, tentatively titled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, will be available for eligible immigrants as of August 15, 2012. Find out if you are eligible for DACA here!
Find out the latest on Dream Act and Immigration Reform in 2013 right here.
The Purpose of DREAM Act
DREAM Act is also known as the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act. If passed, it is meant to assist those individuals who came to the U.S. illegally as children to eventually obtain U.S. citizenship after fulfilling specific requirements, such as attending college or enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces. People who support the DREAM Act believe it is imperative not only to the individuals who would benefit from this important piece of legislation, but also the United States would benefit in many ways, including economically. It offers an opportunity to undocumented students, who have lived in the United States since they were young, a chance to give back to the U.S. by putting to good use their education and talents.
Statics from the National Immigration Law Center indicates approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from High School every year and this trend is expected to continue in 2011.
The DREAM Act bill if enacted by the U.S. Congress would provide these young men and women the chance to obtain conditional permanent residency. There would be guidelines set forth for these individuals in order to qualify for conditional permanent residency under the DREAM Act bill. The two options under the DREAM Act guidelines would be to attend college or enlist in the U.S. military, and meeting either of these two requirements would eventually allow these young men and women to apply for U.S. citizenship.
What would be the eligibility requirements under the proposed DREAM Act?
Individuals must have been 15 years old or younger when they entered the United States. This means that if you were 16 when you entered the United States you would not qualify under the DREAM Act.
Individuals must have resided in the United States for at least five consecutive years prior to the passing of the DREAM Act.
Individuals must have graduated from a United States high school, or have obtained a GED, or have been accepted into an institution of higher education, such as a college or university. Individuals must be between 12 and 35 years of age when they apply for conditional permanent residency
Individual must have demonstrated good moral character. What will be considered good moral character? While the DREAM Act does not specifically outline the guideline in regards to good moral character, it can be best described as a law-abiding person of the United States.
And if the DREAM Act passes?
If this immigration legislation is to become law, eligible, undocumented young men and women may apply for conditional permanent residency through the DREAM Act.
Conditional Permanent Residency is similar in some ways to Legal Permanent Residency in that you would be able to work, drive and travel in the United States. For a 6 year period individuals will not be able to travel abroad for long periods of time.
What would it mean if Conditional Permanent Residency is approved under the proposed DREAM Act?
Individuals would need to enroll in an institution of higher learning in order to obtain a bachelor's degree or higher degree, such as a Ph.D., M.D., etc.; or enlist in one of the branches of the U.S. Armed Services.
Failing to get the DREAM Act passed in Congress on December 18, 2010, President Obama remains steadfast to see immigration reform.
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