It has been a long time coming for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, also known as the DREAM Act, to come true.
After its inception way back in 2001, it is expected to be voted on the Senate floor this weekend in the Lame Duck Session. It appeared in its earlier days in many forms and interpretations. Today, there are approximately 65,000 students graduating from high school who are undocumented. Most have been brought to the United States when they were very young and have been accustomed and acculturated since most of them can remember. However, when undocumented youths graduate, they face an uncertain future and the chance of being deported back to a country they hardly know, and some with no relatives to seek out.
Lacking legal status, the children are kept from obtaining the same benefits that U.S.-born children or those who have been naturalized have. The DREAM Act will provide citizenship to undocumented children who have grown up in the United States by giving them a path for citizenship within five years by enabling them to apply for citizenship in a five-year period and then apply for another 5-year conditional nonimmigrant status for a total of 10 years. If all criteria are met within this timeframe, the student can be adjusted to legal permanent resident and can apply for citizenship after three years of legal permanent status. Certain options such as enrolling in a two-year degree program or joining the armed forces can reduce the number of years.
Persons with nonimmigrant status would be able to legally work and drive and also go to school essentially the same way a United States citizen does, except for when it comes to receiving benefits from the new health care reform, such as federal tax credits. To qualify for The DREAM Act, the child would have to come to United States before 15 years of age, be enrolled in a college, or have graduated or received a GED from high school for conditional nonimmigrant status, and also be 30 years old or younger at the time of the bill has been enacted.
There have been many opposing the bill. Some say that the bill will put a burden on our already dismal financial forecast. However, there have been studies that say that The Dream Act may in turn boost the economy by their generated income throughout the course of their working lives.
A. Banerjee is a Houston immigration lawyer in Texas. Before selecting an immigration lawyer in Houston Texas, contact the Law Offices of Annie Banerjee by visiting their information filled web site at http://www.visatous.com.