The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, struggled to collect sponsors and receive recognition in the U.S. House and Senate. However, one of the proposals on immigration reform made by the White House recently, recommends that Congress renew its focus on passing this piece of immigration legislation.
The DREAM Act seeks to make it easier for young undocumented immigrants to go to college, get jobs, or start their own businesses. The most recent version of the bill made it easier for high school graduates and GED recipients to receive conditional lawful permanent resident status, which allows students to work, go to school, or join the military. Full legal permanent resident status would be granted after six years if the student had completed two years in a college bachelor’s degree program, had served in the military for at least two years, or both.
Supporters of the DREAM Act estimate that 2.1 million undocumented individuals would qualify for the program. Many of these people have been in the United States for the entirety of their lives; they have already built communities and connections here.
Although the White House will need the support of Congress to pass the DREAM Act, other elements of the President’s immigration reform proposals are moving forward without support from Capitol Hill. These include expansions to the DACA and DAPA programs, which make it easier for childhood arrivals and their parents to defer immigration action as long as they are going to school, working, or raising children. Experienced Texas immigration lawyers have been studying these changes carefully to determine exactly what the expanded programs will offer their clients.