This past July, Less President Obama halted the deportation proceedings for a number of undocumented immigrants and granted them temporary work permits. Called the “DREAMers,” these undocumented people are slated to benefit under the DREAM Act, which would allow the granting of work permits and stop deportation, if certain criteria are met, to those living in the U.S. illegally.
Supporters of the DREAM Act believe the policy is needed to integrate solid citizens into a system of social and economic benefits not currently afforded them and remove the “invisibility” factor of working in the U.S. without documentation. Critics contend that the DREAM Act may produce a systematic amnesty program, encouraging further immigration, inviting fraud and shielding gang members from deportation. However, the DREAM Act has a number of specific criteria that must be met. DREAMers are those who came to the US as children, are currently below the age of 31, do not have a criminal record, are currently attending or have graduated high school or college and/or who have served in the military. Though the Department of Homeland Security estimated that some 800,000 individuals would be affected, the Pew Hispanic Center and the Migration Policy Institute puts the figure at nearly twice that, stating that almost 1.4 million people are affected by the DREAM Act.
While it can be difficult to get accurate numbers on a population of people who may be hesitant to identify as undocumented, it is estimated by the Migration Policy Institute that almost 60 percent, some 800,000, of the people under Obama’s deferred action are currently enrolled in school, from kindergarten through 12th grade. One quarter or some 370,000 of the eligible are high school graduates or hold GED certification. More than 15 percent, roughly 220,000, are enrolled in college or have graduated from college.
The Citizenship and Immigration Service has announced that DREAMers can apply on and after August 15, 2012, the date when they will begin accepting immigrants’ applications for a special deferment status for two years. Under the deferment, they will not receive a green card (a permanent residence card) but will receive a work permit and will not be deported.
Will more DREAMers come forward? It is generally assumed that many people are waiting to see what happens with this upcoming presidential election and how any policy changes would adversely affect them if they self-identify as undocumented without a guaranteed safety net. Presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has announced his own citizenship proposal if elected.
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.