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What is the DREAM Act?

The DREAM Act is short for the “Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors” Act. The Dream Act is proposed legislation which has been pending in Congress for several years and has received bipartisan support from both major political parties. The legislation provides a mechanism for students and other young people who are undocumented and who have graduated High School or obtained A GED. It applies to persons who came to the United States as undocumented immigrant children and who have since grown up here and who generally have no way of obtaining legal status to continue their education or to work legally.

The main features and benefits of the Dream Act include:

  • Permit certain immigrant students, who have grown up in the U.S., to apply for temporary legal status and to eventually obtain permanent status and become eligible for U.S. citizenship, if they go to college or serve in the U.S. military; and
  • Eliminate a federal provision that penalizes states that provide in-state tuition without regard to immigration status.

Who is affected by the DREAM Act?

The Dream Act, if passed, would benefit hundreds of thousands or persons who are undocumented immigrants. It is estimated that approximately 65,000 students who graduate from high school each year would qualify for the DREAM Act’s benefits. These students form part of the estimated eleven million undocumented persons presently in the United States but are considered by supporters of the Dream Act to be in a separate category because of the young age when they came to the United States.

What is the DREAM Act’s current status?

Various attempts have been made to pass the Dream Act as separate legislation even though its provisions are also included in legislative proposals for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The Dream Act continues to attract bipartisan support, is supported by the President, leading business and military leaders. It remains unclear whether the Dream Act will be passed as standalone legislation or as part of a broader comprehensive Immigration Reform legalization program.

How do I find out if the Dream Act Will help Me?

The main provisions of the Dream Act 2009 (the most recent version which may be subject to change if the law is passed provides for the following qualifications:

  • Must have good moral character (certain criminal convictions and other grounds of inadmissibility would apply).
  • Must have come to the United States at age 15 or under, at least 5 years prior to enactment of the Dream Act.
  • Graduation from US High School or awarded a GED.
  • Dream Act eligible age limit is 35 under Senate version of Bill.

What Benefits would I get under the Dream Act?

Conditional permanent resident status, which could be removed after 6 years, if good moral character is maintained and certain minimum periods of physical presence in the United States are maintained and there is evidence of either:

  • Graduation from a two-year college or certain vocational colleges, or
  • completion of studies for at least two years toward a B.A. or higher degree, or
  • Service in the U.S. armed forces for at least two years

How Can Your Office Help Me Qualify For The Dream Act Or Other Immigration Relief?

Please click here to request a free initial consultation to determine your future options and to learn how you can prepare to qualify for the Dream Act or any other immigration benefits in the Future.

For information on the new Deferred Action Program please click here.

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