WASHINGTON (WSAV) – U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced the DREAM Act, which would allow immigrant students who grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship.
These young people, known as Dreamers, have lived in America since they were children, built their lives here, and are American in every way except for their immigration status.
However, under current law, they live in fear of deportation and have no chance to ever become citizens and fulfill their potential.
“There is support across the country for allowing Dreamers — who have records of achievement — to stay, work, and reach their full potential,” says Sen. Graham. “We should not squander these young people’s talents and penalize our own nation.”
A similar version of the DREAM Act was introduced on April 25, 2001, by Representative Luis Gutiérrez, Democrat from Illinois, as the “Immigrant Children’s Educational Advancement and Dropout Prevention Act of 2001.
“I’ll do everything in my power as a United States Senator to protect these Dreamers and give them the chance to become American citizens so they can contribute to a brighter future for all Americans,” said Sen. Durbin. “I first introduced the DREAM Act 16 years ago and I’ll continue fighting until it becomes the law of the land. I thank Senator Graham for partnering with me in this bipartisan effort.”
The DREAM Act, which stands for development, relief, and education for alien minors would allow these young people to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they meet the following guidelines:
- Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;
- Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
- Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;
- Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
- Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
- Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.