The DREAM Act and Federal Immigration Reform
National Immigration Law Center
California Immigrant Policy Center
Future ProspectsStudents often ask, “Why should I go to college if I can’t use the degree to get a better job in my field of study?” “What do I do after graduation?” These questions reflect the frustration, hopelessness, sadness, or anger that students often feel when they confront the limitations of their immigration status. Even students who have been awarded a right to work through DACA often find themselves unable to enter careers in their major. Raised in the US, Americanized, they have no real social security that is taken for granted by youth born in this country. Yet many students still dream of a better future, of a college education.
Higher aspirations are not limited by immigration status for the students who, despite the obstacles, find a way to prepare for and succeed in college. Any undocumented student can dream of a better future because with or without immigration reform an education is something that can never be taken from them. In and of itself, it enriches their lives and those around them. Importantly, immigration reform is now more than ever in the near future. It will someday make a better future possible for the undocumented student that dared to dream.
The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (D.R.E.A.M Act) is federal legislation introduced but not enacted in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. It would provide certain undocumented immigrant students that graduate from US high schools, are of good moral character, arrived in the US as children, and have been in the US continuously for at least five years prior to the bills enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency. A qualified student must attend college and earn a two-year degree, or service in the military for two years in order to earn citizenship after a six year period. If a student does not comply with the college requirement or military service requirement temporary residency will be taken way and the student will be subject to deportation.
If this bill is reintroduced in Congress it may go forth as an individual bill or language in a Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act.
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