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A Summary of the DREAM Act – Residency Without the Legal Hassle

Posted by Gutierrez Law Firm on May 29, 2013

Each year, people from all over the world travel to the United States in hopes of finding a better life for themselves and their families. However, many have found that obtaining a green card can be a long and difficult process. So, just how does one obtain U.S. residency without all of the legal hassle?

How Immigrants Help the U.S.

Over the past several decades, there has been a large number of immigrants who have had a significant impact on the U.S. as a whole. These persons have provided the United States with a reliable workforce resulting in healthy economic growth. Additionally, immigrant workers help the U.S. remain strong in a highly competitive world.

Introduction of the DREAM Act

Realizing the value of these immigrant workers, U.S. senators created a piece of legislation known as the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act. Under this proposed law, certain undocumented immigrants could gain conditional permanent residency in the U.S. However, the DREAM Act is still subject to revision, and even if it is passed, an immigrant will need to meet the following conditions:

  • Entered the U.S. at 16 years of age or younger
  • Has a high school diploma or GED and attends a U.S. college
  • Lived in the U.S. for five or more years prior to when the bill is enacted
  • Possesses good moral character and owns no criminal record

Benefits to Undocumented Immigrants

The DREAM Act would revoke a decree that financially penalizes states for providing tuition to undocumented immigrants. Additionally, the bill will make immigrants eligible for such things as work study programs and federal loans. It would also give them a six-year conditional legal status that converts to permanent status as long as the person meets one of the following conditions:

  • Earns a degree from a college or university in the U.S.
  • Completes at least two years of study in a college or university within the U.S.
  • Serves at least two years in the U.S. military

Proposed Variations in the Bill

Unfortunately, the DREAM Act has faced a lot of criticism, and its opponents have suggested several amendments that would make it more difficult for people to be eligible for its benefits. Some examples of the proposed amendments to the bill are as follows:

  • Must be younger than 29 years of age
  • Entered the U.S. at 15 years old or younger
  • Limited ability to sponsor family members for citizenship
  • Does not revoke ban on in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants
  • No legal immigrant status for anyone for at least two years

The DREAM Act would be a significant step forward in fixing the United State’s broken immigration laws. Under this bill, the system would not only offer citizenship to undocumented immigrants, but it would also allow the U.S. to benefit from the valuable contributions that immigrants can offer.

Get in touch with the Gutierrez Law Firm at 210.225.7114 to find out more about the proposed DREAM Act.

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