Basic Information about the DREAM Act Legislation
This information is based on the current legislation introduced on March 26, 2009 by Senator Richard Durbin and Representative Howard Berman.
The purpose of the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act, also called the DREAM Act, is to help those individuals who meet certain requirements, have an opportunity to enlist in the military or go to college and have a path to citizenship which they otherwise would not have without this legislation. Supporters of the DREAM Act believe it is vital not only to the people who would benefit from it, but also the United States as a whole. It would give an opportunity to undocumented immigrant students who have been living in the U.S. since they were young, a chance to contribute back to the country that has given so much to them and a chance to utilize their hard earned education and talents.
Would I qualify?
The following is a list of specific requirements one would need in order to qualify for the current version of the DREAM Act.
- Must have entered the United States before the age of 16 (i.e. 15 and younger)
- Must have been present in the United States for at least five (5) consecutive years prior to enactment of the bill
- Must have graduated from a United States high school, or have obtained a GED, or have been accepted into an institution of higher education (i.e. college/university)
- Must be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of application
- Must have good moral character
If you have met all those requirements and can prove it, once the DREAM Act passes you will be able to do the following:
What do I need to do if the DREAM Act should pass?
If the DREAM Act passes, an undocumented individual meeting those qualifying conditions stated above, would have to do the following:
- Apply for the DREAM Act (Since the legislation has not yet passed, there are no specific guidelines on how to apply)
- Once approved and granted Conditional Permanent Residency, the individual would have to do one of the following:
- Enroll in an institution of higher education in order to pursue a bachelor's degree or higher degree or
- Enlist in one of the branches of the United States Military
- Within 6 years of approval for conditional permanent residency, the individual must have completed at least two (2) years of one of the options outlined in the previous step
- Once 5 ½ years of the 6 years have passed, the individual will then be able to apply for Legal Permanent Residency (dropping the conditional part) and consequently will be able to apply for United States Citizenship
Those who have already completed at least 2 years of college education towards a bachelor's degree or higher degree, will still have to wait the 5 ½ years in order to apply for Legal Permanent Residency even though you may have already obtained a degree.
Students who do not complete the requirements will be disqualified .
To see the text of the legislation go here. Under word/phrase, click on Bill Number instead, type in S. 729 (in the Senate) or H.R. 1751 (in the House), in the search box and you will be directed to the bill.