This bill — known as the Dream Act — would provide conditional permanent resident status and eventually American citizenship to certain long-term residents who entered the U.S. without authorization as children. To quality, an individual would have to satisfy certain criteria, although all individuals granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would be exempt from deportation and granted conditional permanent resident status unless they have since engaged in conduct that would make him or her ineligible for DACA.
Individuals would satisfy eligibility requirements if they:
Have lived in the U.S. continuously for at least four years, and were 17 or younger when they first entered the country. They cannot have left the U.S. for any period longer than 90 days or any periods in aggregate exceeding 180 days within the last four years.
Are not inadmissible on the following grounds: criminal, security, smuggling, student visa abuse, ineligibility for citizenship, polygamy, international child abduction, or unlawful voting. They also could not have participated in persecution.
Haven’t been convicted of any federal or state offense punishable by more than one year imprisonment, or three or more separate offenses punished by an aggregate 90 days imprisonment or more.
Have been admitted to an institution of higher education, or have graduated from high school or obtained a GED or high school equivalency diploma, or is enrolled in secondary school or a program assisting students in obtaining a GED or high school diploma.
The Secretary of Homeland Security would be authorized to waive select inadmissibility bars for humanitarian purposes, family unity, or if the waiver is otherwise in the public interest. They would evaluate expunged convictions on a case-by-case basis according to the severity of the offense. For individuals subject to deportation, the secretary would have to provide a reasonable opportunity to apply for relief.
Through its cabinet secretary, the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) could require a person applying for conditional permanent resident status to pay a reasonable fee for application processing (although exemptions would be available on the basis of need). An applicant would have to submit biometric and biographic data before they could be granted conditional permanent resident status so that DHS can complete security and law enforcement background checks to determine their eligibility. Applicants would also have to undergo a medical examination and demonstrate that they’ve registered for Selective Service.
Conditional permanent resident status would be valid for eight years, and DHS could terminate that status if that person no longer meets the inadmissibility, criminal conviction, and persecution criteria specified by this bill. A person whose conditional permanent resident status is terminated would return to their previous immigration status.
Conditional permanent resident status would be lifted if, at the end of eight years, the person:
Satisfies the inadmissibility, criminal conviction, and persecution requirements;
Hasn’t abandoned their U.S. residence;
Has acquired a degree from a U.S. institution of higher education; or completed at least two years in good standing in a U.S. degree program.;
Has completed two years of military service and receive an honorable discharge if they leave the service;
Has been employed for periods of time totaling at least three years and at least 75 percent of the time the person has had employment authorization.
A hardship exemption would permit the secretary to remove the conditional basis of an otherwise eligible person’s permanent resident status if they show compelling circumstances for the their inability to complete the higher education/military service/work requirement and demonstrate that:
The person has a disability or is a full-time caregiver of a minor child;
The person’s removal from the U.S. would cause extreme hardship to the person or the person’s U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child.
Certain documents would be required for applicants to demonstrate their eligibility under this bill, including documents establishing the following under certain circumstances:
Continuous physical presence in the U.S.;
Initial entry into the U.S.;
Admission to an institution of higher education;
Receipt of a degree from an institution of higher education;
Receipt of a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent;
Enrollment in an educational program;
Exemption from application fees;
Qualification for hardship exemption;
Service in the uniformed services;
Within 90 days of this bill’s enactment, DHS would be required to publish implementing interim regulations allowing eligible individuals to apply, and within 180 days after publication the rules regulations would be required to be finalized.