Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today introduced the Dream Act of 2017, which would provide a path to legal status and eventually citizenship for people that came to this country when they were children. AACC remains strongly supportive of this important legislation.
This latest incarnation of the Dream Act would confer conditional permanent residency status on individuals who were 17 or younger when they entered the country and have lived here continuously at least 4 years before the bill is enacted. In order to achieve non-conditional permanent residency, the Dreamer, in addition to meeting other requirements, must complete a college degree or 2 years towards a bachelor’s degree, 2 years in the military, or a minimum amount of employment over a 3 year span. The employment option is a new feature of the bill. DACA recipients, barring any disqualifying activity on their part, would be granted conditional permanent residency. There is no age limit as to who may qualify, as long as all the requirements have been met. After achieving non-conditional permanent residency, Dreamers are able to continue the naturalization process and become full citizens.
Like past versions, the legislation repeals a provision in federal law that limited states’ ability to grant in-state tuition to undocumented students.
The bill faces a challenging environment on Capitol Hill, but supporters are eager to gradually build momentum in its favor. The DACA program remains in place, despite considerable pressure on the Trump administration to repeal it. A group of 10 state attorneys general have vowed to sue the administration if it does not start phasing out DACA by September 5.