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senate Bill S. 1615

The Dream Act: Should There be Legal Status and a Path to Citizenship For People Brought to the U.S. Illegally as Children?

Argument in favor

The young people who would be provided with legal status and a path to citizenship because of the Dream Act have been here since they were children and have built their lives here. They shouldn’t be punished through deportation to a country they barely know. This bill ensures they won’t face that.

Jake's Opinion
···
09/09/2017
United States are supposed to be the country that open their arms to children from war, famine, tyranny gov't, and any reasons to flee from the country. Right now, we are slowly becoming tolerant of tyrant govt. why? Edit: This is top liked & I take the opportunity to argue the notion of "law to obey" said by Mark below me. I am a born American and I respect their journey to get this country. Make laws to welcome them not deport them away. I stand with this mortal idea of embracing refugees. A Human being's dignity be lived freely and pursuit the happiness as said on The Constitution. We have to impeach Trump to set an example for next generation of politicians. Law and The Constitution is a big difference. I support for improvement, yes. Welcome, not Deport. I love y'all.
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Diane's Opinion
···
09/09/2017
Yes. These Dreamers are already highly qualified, educated and contributing members of society. They pay taxes and support welfare for many white legal residents living off the system in southeast USA. Their drive to succeed will elevate our economy, our social services, and the dialogue on human rights.
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···
09/09/2017
Are children innocent or criminals? Yes, there should be a path to citizenship, especially if they have live here there entire lives. Would we hold children responsible because they had the poor luck to be born into Conservative Republican families that are White Supremacists or KKK or other Republican hate groups. No, we would seek whatever path possible to rescue them and provide them with opportunities and set them on a moral and ethical path.
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Argument opposed

If the Dream Act isn’t paired with measures to counteract and deter the illegal immigration that brought the so-called “Dreamers” here in the first place, the U.S. will have to enact more legislation like this in the future for the next generation of immigrants brought here illegally as children.

Mark's Opinion
···
09/09/2017
If you didn't, legally, enter America, you are breaking the law. I know that the concept of obeying laws is foreign to many. But, laws are made for a reason. On a side note, NEVER build a WALL...because that's what Trumpster wants.
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operaman's Opinion
···
09/09/2017
The US has always had a pathway for citizenship, it's called LEGAL immigration. However, to begin the process, you have to get in line. Hundreds of thousand have stood in line with patients and determination to become a citizen with full rights as granted by the Constitution. DREAMERS want a shortcut and now are faced with poor options.
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Sandra's Opinion
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09/09/2017
What about my family who has been in the legal immigration line for years now. If granted citizenship I will tell my family just to come on to America. The Law is the law and you can disagree all you want but it's about time we all followed the laws.
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What is Senate Bill S. 1615?

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:

  • Identity;

  • 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;

  • Employment.

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.

Impact

People who would be eligible for conditional permanent resident status and eventually citizenship; and DHS.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1615

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) introduced this bill to make it so that immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children and have built their lives here don’t have to live in fear of deportation and have a pathway to citizenship:

“These young people have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here. There is support across the country for allowing Dreamers -- who have records of achievement -- to stay, work, and reach their full potential. We should not squander these young people’s talents and penalize our own nation. Our legislation would allow these young people -- who grew up in the United States -- to contribute more fully to the country they love. They have a powerful story to tell and this may be an area where both parties can come together.”

Lead cosponsor Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) added:

“Hundreds of thousands of talented young people who have grown up in our country are at risk of deportation to countries they barely remember.  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.”

The Dream Act has been criticized as incentivizing illegal immigration by individuals young enough to qualify for conditional permanent resident status and eventually citizenship. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has contended that the Dream Act needs to be paired with stronger immigration enforcement so as to avoid encouraging illegal immigration:

“If we just rubber-stamp a standalone Dream Act, then we’re going to have another Dream Act that we’re going to need in 10 years from now.”

This legislation currently has the support of nine cosponsors in the Senate, including six Democrats and three Republicans.


Of NoteVersions of the Dream Act have been supported by some in Congress for years, although there hasn’t to date been sufficient support for it to pass both chambers. In 2007 it was killed by a bipartisan filibuster in the Senate, and in 2010 it passed the House but stalled in the Senate. Then in 2013 it passed as part of a broader immigration package that passed the Senate, but failed in the House. That led to the Obama administration enacting the controversial DACA program that's now being phased out over six months by the Trump administration.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: JayLazarin / iStock)

AKA

Dream Act of 2017

Official Title

A bill to authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain individuals who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJuly 20th, 2017
    United States are supposed to be the country that open their arms to children from war, famine, tyranny gov't, and any reasons to flee from the country. Right now, we are slowly becoming tolerant of tyrant govt. why? Edit: This is top liked & I take the opportunity to argue the notion of "law to obey" said by Mark below me. I am a born American and I respect their journey to get this country. Make laws to welcome them not deport them away. I stand with this mortal idea of embracing refugees. A Human being's dignity be lived freely and pursuit the happiness as said on The Constitution. We have to impeach Trump to set an example for next generation of politicians. Law and The Constitution is a big difference. I support for improvement, yes. Welcome, not Deport. I love y'all.
    Like (480)
    Follow
    Share
    If you didn't, legally, enter America, you are breaking the law. I know that the concept of obeying laws is foreign to many. But, laws are made for a reason. On a side note, NEVER build a WALL...because that's what Trumpster wants.
    Like (79)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes. These Dreamers are already highly qualified, educated and contributing members of society. They pay taxes and support welfare for many white legal residents living off the system in southeast USA. Their drive to succeed will elevate our economy, our social services, and the dialogue on human rights.
    Like (241)
    Follow
    Share
    Are children innocent or criminals? Yes, there should be a path to citizenship, especially if they have live here there entire lives. Would we hold children responsible because they had the poor luck to be born into Conservative Republican families that are White Supremacists or KKK or other Republican hate groups. No, we would seek whatever path possible to rescue them and provide them with opportunities and set them on a moral and ethical path.
    Like (152)
    Follow
    Share
    It is a moral imperative that we allow these people to stay. They are American in every way but name. They are law abiding, tax paying contributors to our society. By signing up for DACA they showed trust to the government, they self reported their status. They have already proved their worth. Get them their citizenship!
    Like (121)
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    The only acceptable answer to the question, 'should children brought into this country by their parents be protected and given equal opportunity to achieve and succeed as any other child, is YES! To all of my friends who possess the "patience of Job" and try to clarify the importance of supporting 'DACA' to the narrow of mind, the thick of skull, the uninformed and hardened of heart, please carry on. Give it your very best, well informed, effort. I've run slap out of patience.with people who don't know what they don't know. Do not expect me to deal kindly with the "get them the hell out of my country" assholes. It's time to deny the bigots, Pharisees, and closed minded a stage upon which to tap dance. I'm through being nice.
    Like (81)
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    These people were brought to the US without their consent, often without their knowledge and they often grew up without knowing their own status until adulthood. If they have broken the law that behavior was learned here not in some foreign country. Being born outside of the US doesn't make them defective and they should face the legal system here in the country that made them who they are not a country many have never been to except at birth or may not even speak the language. Sure they were brought (the key term "brought") here illegally but being brought to the US carries no guilt because they had no choice. They should not be punished for being victims, they should be given a chance to become citizens and allow them to stay and work to support themselves while they make the transition. The reality is that they are one of us they've been living amongst us, let's just make the marriage formal.
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    Yes. It should be passed quickly so these young people don't have to live in anxiety. It's only right. If your ancestors came over on the Mayflower they were dreamers.
    Like (52)
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    The US has always had a pathway for citizenship, it's called LEGAL immigration. However, to begin the process, you have to get in line. Hundreds of thousand have stood in line with patients and determination to become a citizen with full rights as granted by the Constitution. DREAMERS want a shortcut and now are faced with poor options.
    Like (44)
    Follow
    Share
    What about my family who has been in the legal immigration line for years now. If granted citizenship I will tell my family just to come on to America. The Law is the law and you can disagree all you want but it's about time we all followed the laws.
    Like (43)
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    Share
    This is a nation of migrants. Uprooting families from their homes is evil bigotry, nothing more and nothing less.
    Like (39)
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    Let the lady of the harbor rise proudly again
    Like (32)
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    America is a place/country of hope. Offer people a path.
    Like (27)
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    I am a voter in Ohio's 12th congressional district and I support this bill.
    Like (27)
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    For all those that oppose then you all should realize you're here illegally too. You ever thought about that?! Who actually "belongs" in America?! Last time I checked we are ALL immigrants. #disgrace #dontcallyourselveschristians
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    They should be sent back to their country then apply for citizenship as others do. Be cleared and pass the FBI investigation. This is bullshit. Send their asses back
    Like (21)
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    The 14th amendment (also known as the citizenship clause) was ratified as a racist response to the question of civil rights for the slaves that were brought over. As an immigrant and naturalized citizen, I know the long difficult process of becoming a citizen. The concept of citizenship is inherently based on unjust reasoning and illogical and racist enforcement. As an amendment, it can be eliminated and reworked. The Constitution was designed as a living document to repond to the times. Let's do that now.
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    It's constitutionally wrong.
    Like (17)
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    This should already be put in place. Since that is not the case, we should seek to develop policies that provide a legitimate path to citizenship and legal status for those who were brought here as children.
    Like (16)
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    Make DACA permanent. Don't punish good people without reason.
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