The Dream Act of 2017: What Does it Mean?



The bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-IL, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. could provide a way for some young immigrants who arrived or stayed in the US illegally before the age of 18 to become legal permanent residents.

The original Dream Act, first introduced in 2001, has received bipartisan support but has not yet been passed as a law.

The new 2017 bill would allow young immigrants who meet the following criteria eligible for lawful permanent residence – the first step towards citizenship:

⦁ Must be continuously physically present in the U.S. for at least 4 years
⦁ Was 17 years of age or younger upon initial entry date into the U.S.
⦁ Must pass a background check
⦁ Must show they are proficient in English
⦁ Must know U.S. history
⦁ Must not have committed a felony, student visa abuse, international child abduction, or other serious crime
⦁ Has graduated from high school or possess a GED, or enrolled in secondary school or an education program to assist with obtaining a high school diploma or GED (or equivalent) or pursuing higher education or serving in the military

Anyone who has received status under DACA is granted Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) status for up to eight years. This includes work authorization. After maintaining CPR status, a person becomes eligible for Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status and becomes a green card holder.

Criteria for LPR status include:

⦁ Completion of a minimum of two years of higher education, two years military service with honorable discharge, or three years employment

Hardship waivers exempting higher education, military service, or work requirements may be issued to applicants for the following reasons:

⦁ Disability
⦁ Full-time caregivers of a minor child
⦁ Where deportation would cause extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen spouse, child, or parents

What Documents Are Needed to Demonstrate Eligibility?

The following documents are needed by applicants to demonstrate eligibility under the Dream Act of 2017:

⦁ Establish identity
⦁ Establish continuous physical presence in the U.S.
⦁ Establish initial U.S. entry
⦁ Establish admission to an institute of higher education
⦁ Establish receipt of a degree from an institute of higher education
⦁ Establish receipt of a high school diploma or GED
⦁ Establish enrollment in an education program
⦁ Establish exemption from application fees
⦁ Establish qualification for hardship exemption
⦁ Establish service in the uniformed services
⦁ Establish employment

The individual must present the corresponding documents to qualify for the Dream Act of 2017.

Is There a Deadline for the Passing of the Dream Act of 2017?

A September 5th deadline is looming due to an ultimatum issued by a group of conservative state attorneys general challenging the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program authorized by President Obama.

The attorneys general want to end the DACA program that renews and grants temporary deportation deferrals and work permits to young immigrants.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly is supportive of DACA but worries that it may not survive a legal challenge in court.

The information provided here is only a partial outline of the Dream Act of 2017. If you have concerns or questions, please contact the immigration experts at Brodzki Jacobs & Associates, PL. Our Coral Springs attorneys are here to provide you with the answers you seek. Call us at (954) 344-7737 to schedule an appointment.

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