Overview of the DREAM Act
The 2013 Dream Act is expected to be re-introduced by both chambers of Congress in January 2013, just shortly after the President's Inauguration.
The original Bill, called the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (The "DREAM Act") was first introduced in the US Congress in 2001, with the last Bill introduced in both the Senate and House in 2011.
Over time, there have been various versions of the original legislation, which was proposed to provide millions of immigrant children who graduated from U.S. High Schools, the opportunity to receive U.S. Residency (a "Green Card") after so many years of being left in the shadows by State and Federal laws. The 2013 Dream Act is expected to provide immigration benefits to those who arrived in the United States as children, before the age of 16 and who have been residing in the U.S. continuously for at least five years prior to the Bill being enacted into Law.
In recent years, the DREAM Act failed to pass in 2009 and even though Senator Reid brought it up to the floor twice: the first time, pre-midterm election 2010 where it died with a defense authorization bill; and the second, in December 2010, when it fell five votes short of passing. In 2011, Democtrats in both the House and Senate re-introduced the DREAM Act. The House passed the Bill, but the Republican opposition killed the Bill in the Senate.
CLICK BELOW TO READ THE 2011 BILLS:
Click Below Links to Read Recent News About the 2011 Dream Act Bill
The 2009 Bill had very generous provisions, giving children who qualified the opportunity to "earn" Permanent Residency. This meant that students would be issued temporary Residency for a period of six years, which was conditioned upon meeting certain educational or military requirements. Within the six year temporary Residency period, a qualified student must have attend college, and earned at least a two year degree (AA), or served in the U.S. Military for two years in order to maintain immigration benefits. Once the immigrant had met all of the conditions at the end of the 6-year conditional period, they would be granted Permanent Residency, which would lead to U.S. citizenship. However, if the student did not comply with either the college requirement or military service requirement, the temporary Residency would have been taken away and student would have been subjected to deportation In 2011, the re-introduced Bills were more conservative, in line with the more restrictive Bill which had previously died in the Senate in December 2010. The following were the main requirments for qualification:
Under the 2011 DREAM Act which died in the Senate in December 2011, immigrants could qualify in part, by meeting the following requirements:
- Must be between the ages of 12 and 30 at the time the Law is enacted
- Must have arrived in the United States before the age of 16
- Must have resided continuously in the United States for a least five (5) consecutive years since the date of their arrival
- Must have graduated from a U.S. High School, or obtained a General Education Diploma (GED)
- Must have "Good moral character" (no criminal convictions)
Current Immigration Laws Regarding Immigrant Children:
Under current immigtation regulations, children who immigrate to the United States from another country can only obtain permanent status through their parents and may not independently apply for Residency. Such children are allowed to attend and complete public education, but upon graduation, are not allowed to attend college in many States. Further, without proof of legal immigration status, such children are generally not issued Driver's Licenses, Social Security cards and cannot legally work.
Background of the Dream Act pre2011:
Several different versions of the Dream Act were introduced into Congress in 2001, 2005 , 2007 and 2009, but never made it to passage. Much of the Dream Act text was also made part of several other failed immigration-related bills, including the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 . The failure of the past immigration reform efforts was largely blamed on Republicans, who generally opposed immigration reform. However, since President Obama's re-election in 2012, even the staunchest formerly anti-immigration conservatives seem to be coming on board and agreeing that there needs to be a final solution for Dreamers and other immigrants in the U.S. to legalize their status in 2013. The 2013 Dream Act is expected to be re-introduced by both chambers of Congress in January 2013, just shortly after the President's Inauguration. We will provide the full text of the new Bill and related links as soon as they become available.
Be sure to follow the Links on the toolbar for Recent News, Immigration Newsletter and valuable Resouces.