DREAM Act continues to be a dream
In past years, the DREAM Act has come up for a vote several times and has garnered as many as 48 co-sponsors in the Senate and 152 in the House, yet it has failed to become law. It passed the Senate Judiciary Committee twice, by a 16-3 vote in 2003-2004, and by a voice vote without dissent as an amendment to the comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill (S. 2611) in 2006. After a similar CIR bill failed in 2007, the DREAM Act was considered as a stand-alone bill (S. 2205), which garnered a bi-partisan majority vote of 52-44 in the Senate, but failed to reach the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture. The DREAM Act has never come up for a vote in the House of Representatives. A variant of the DREAM Act is included in Comprehensive Immigration Reform ASAP (CIR ASAP), introduced by Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) in December 2009.
The DREAM Act addresses the plight of over 1.5 million, young undocumented immigrants growing up in the United States who wish to go to college and obtain lawful employment. The bill allows current, former, and future undocumented high-school graduates and GED recipients a pathway to U.S. citizenship through college or the armed services.
- An undocumented high-school graduate or GED recipient would be eligible to adjust to conditional lawful permanent resident (LPR) status if they have been physically present in the United States for at least five years and were younger than 16 when they first entered the country.
- This LPR status would be granted on a conditional basis and valid for six years, during which time the student would be allowed to work, go to school, or join the military.
- The “conditional” status would be removed and the person granted LPR status after six years once the student has either completed two years in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree or has served in the armed services for at least two years and, if discharged, has received an honorable discharge.
- DREAM Act students would not be eligible for federal education grants. Students would, however, be eligible for federal work study and student loans, and individual states would not be restricted from providing financial aid to the students.
DREAM Act-eligible immigrants live in all 50 states, but some states have far more potential beneficiaries than others. The top ten states with the largest number of potential DREAM Act beneficiaries are California (26% of the national total), Texas (12%), Florida (9%), New York (7%), Arizona (5%), Illinois (4%), New Jersey (4%), Georgia (3%), North Carolina (2%), and Colorado (2%). All other states combined are home to one-quarter of potential DREAM Act beneficiaries.
VISA PREFERENCE NUMBERS FOR AUGUST 2010
FAMILY India Pakistan/Bangladesh
1st 01Aug05 01Aug05
2A 01Mar09 01Mar09
2B 01Jan04 01Jan04
3rd 01Jan02 01Jan02
4th 01Jun01 01Jun01
EMPLOYMENT India Pakistan/Bangladesh
1st Current Current
2nd 01Mar06 Current
3rd 01Jan02 01Jun04
Other 01Jan02 15May02
4th Current Current
5th Current Current
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