The Daily Koss with a Call to Action: Sign and send a personalized letter to your member of Congress and Senators: Pass a clean DREAM Act bill. Click HERE to “Sign and Send”.
The Dream Act of 2017 is bipartisan legislation that would allow around 1.5 million U.S.-raised immigrant youth to earn lawful permanent residence and American citizenship if they:
- Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;
- Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
- Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;
- Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
- Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.
Versions of the Dream Act have been introduced at least ten times before, starting in 2001. They have passed either the House or Senate, but not both in the same Congressional session.
This version of the bill improves upon previous bills. It expands eligibility and raises the age of entry requirement to 18 years of age—allowing more undocumented youth to qualify. It also works with current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—the deferred action program that protects undocumented youth from deportation—recipients to reduce some barriers as they work towards citizenship. Without legislation like the Dream Act, there is no pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth living in the U.S.
This is not a perfect bill. Language requirements are xenophobic and Black and Brown communities are policed more so than white communities, increasing the likelihood of having a criminal record. And, nativists are already attempting to add border enforcement and aim to criminalize the parents of the youth the bill protects. But when we win, we’ll be protecting hundreds of thousands of youth who, as citizens, will continue to fight for everyone left behind.
Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA 40th District) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL 27th District) have introduced the bill in the House of Representatives, and Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have introduced a companion bill in the Senate. For this bill to finally pass without anti-migrant amendments, we’ll need heavy, sustained grassroots pressure. And with DACA at risk, it can’t happen soon enough.
Our partners at United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation, remind us that the only reason we won DACA is because thousands of undocumented youth had the courage to demand it. Let’s make sure we have their backs as they once again move this country forward.
Sign and send a personalized letter to your member of Congress and Senators: Pass a clean DREAM Act bill. Click HERE to “Sign and Send”.