Overview on US DREAM Act for young illegal immigrants

By Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch on August 1, 2001 in the senate an American legislative proposal was first introduced called the DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors). To certain illegal persons with good moral character and who graduate from U.S. high schools, having arrived in the United States as minors and lived continuously for minimum 5 years prior to the bill’s endorsement, the bill would provide conditional permanent residency.

On completion of two years in the military or two years at a higher learning four year institution they would obtain temporary residency for a six-year period.  Only if they have acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or after completing at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the United States” or after serving in the armed services for at least 2 years and received an honorable discharge, within the six-year period, they qualify for permanent residency.

Enlisting in the military would mean an eight-year commitment or contract during which there will be minimum 2 years to maximum of 6 years active duty commitments. Under this act if permanent resident status is terminated for any alien they shall return to the immigration status the alien had immediately prior to receiving conditional permanent resident status. Illegal immigrants as old as 35 years of age would be included in this bill.

The act would create amnesty program and produce social and economic benefits say the supporters of the act while critics feel this act would invite fraud, encourage illegal immigration further and help members escape from deportation.

Eligibility criteria for the dream act beneficiaries

The DREAM Act beneficiaries of Senate bill under the 2009 version require the following:

  1. Proof of having arrived in the United States before age 16 is required
  2. Be of good moral character.
  3. From their date of arrival the beneficiaries should have proof of residence for at least five consecutive years of stay in US.
  4. Should have registered with the Selective Service if beneficiary is a male
  5. At the time of bill enactment beneficiary should be between the ages of 12 and 35.
  6. Beneficiaries should have graduated from an American high school, obtained General Educational Development, or must have been admitted to an institution of higher education.

“Conditional” status would be granted to qualifying illegal immigrants during first six years and during this period they should have graduated from a community college after a two year course, completed two years of a four year degree course or should have served in the US military for at least two years. At the end of six years the eligible immigrants can apply for permanent resident status if they have met any one of the conditions. They would be able to apply for student loans and work study during this six year conditional period but they would not be eligible for federal higher education grants such as Pell grants.

They would be granted permanent residency if they have met all of the conditions at the end of the 6-year conditional period and obviously allow them to apply for US citizenship. Those eligible and who would go on to further complete the further requirements are not known. Only 7,000–13,000 college students nationally can fulfill the further obligations according to estimation of one organization. Over 2 million illegal individuals could benefit under the Act according to a different analysis.

President Obama administration has decided to begin a policy to cease the deportation of 800,000 young foreign nationals in the country who are without proper documentation and authorization.  Since these children have grown up as Americans they have also decided that the US will no longer deport children whose parents brought them to America.

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