Understanding the DREAM Act

The DREAM Act is another way people refer to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. It is a U.S. legislative proposal for qualifying immigrant minors in the United States for permanent residency. The bill was first introduced in the Senate in late 2001 by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch.

Originally, the Act was intended to help immigrant children whose parents illegally brought them into the United States. It protects certain minors from being deported back to a country that may not be familiar to them at all.

Those who qualify for the DREAM Act must meet some of the following requirements:

  • They must have been younger than 18 years of age when they initially arrived in the United States
  • They must have proof of having arrived in the United States before age 16
  • They must have evidence of residence in the United States for at least 5 consecutive years since their date of arrival
  • If they are male, they must have registered with the Selective Service
  • They must have been between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of the bill enactment
  • They must have graduated from an American high school, obtained a GED, or been admitted to an institution of higher education
  • They must be of good moral character

For those who do qualify, during their first 6 years, they will be granted “conditional” status that would be required to graduate from a 2-year community college, complete at least 2 years toward a 4-year degree, or serve 2 years in the U.S. military. After this period, those who meet at least 1 of these requirements would be eligible to apply for permanent residency. Those who qualify for the DREAM Act will not be eligible for federal higher education grants, such as Pell grants, but they would be able to apply for student loans and work-study programs.

The most recent version of the DREAM Act was introduced in July 2017 by Senators Lindsay Graham and Richard Durbin. This version allows current, former, and future undocumented high school graduates and GED recipients a 3-step pathway to U.S. citizenship.

As of 2017, no formal, federal DREAM Act has been made into law, though various states have their own versions. It has been reintroduced to Congress several times over the past decade and continues to be introduced in Congress this year.

If you’re concerned about whether or not you may be eligible for your state’s DREAM Act, talk to one of our skilled Cleveland immigration attorneys today. Sintsirmas& Mueller Co. L.P.A. is dedicated to advocating for the rights of immigrants. Our lawyers are compassionate and can handle your case with the utmost respect and professionalism. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at (888) 491-8770 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation with us today.