What are the major components of the Federal Dream Act? Is it the law of the land?

stephen m corby

Despite widespread publicity, the DREAM Act has not been passed into federal law. This bill was originally proposed in 2001, rejected in 2010, and reintroduced in 2011. It is still currently under debate, as opponents feel this bill may support illegal immigration into the U.S.

The major component of the Federal Dream Act is to provide a path to citizenship for young people born in the USA to undocumented immigrants (or who arrived here with their parents as young children and who have grown up in the USA).  Many of these people, now young adults, have never known any country but the USA and many of them have graduated from U.S. high schools.

From this major component, there have been many versions of the Federal Dream act proposed.  For example, one of the Federal versions of the Dream Act suggested that if these immigrants were to complete two years in the military or two years at a four-year institution of higher learning, they would obtain temporary residency for a six-year period.  Within the six-year period they may then be able to qualify for permanent residency.  The only problem with the military service requirement is that the military do not allow undocumented immigrants to enlist.

Despite the difficulty the federal government has encountered in settling on provisions of the DREAM Act, fifteen states have taken it on their own initiative to draft their own DREAM Acts.  North Carolina is not one of them.  While states cannot legalize the citizenship status of undocumented immigrants, they may allow undocumented students to attend their universities and qualify for in-state tuition.  In various ways this is what the state DREAM acts do.

The laws in these states require undocumented students to: 1) attend a school in the state for a certain number of years; 2) graduate from high school in the state; and 3) sign an affidavit stating that they will apply to legalize their status as soon as they are eligible to do so.  California, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin permit undocumented students who have attended and graduated from the state’s primary and secondary schools to pay the same college tuition as other state residents.

Call The Law Office of Stephen M. Corby immigration law office today for a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys regarding questions you may have regarding applications for US citizenship.  At least for the present, the DREAM Act does not provide a path to US citizenship, but for some it may be a foot in the door.  We can provide you with additional helpful information regarding how to obtain an immigration visa.

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