As immigration reform takes center stage across the nation, the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) is once again gaining the attention of legislators. The bill was initially introduced in 2001, but has experienced a great deal of difficulty getting ratified. Immigration activists and proponents of the bill continue to lobby for its passage that will give immigrant children the chance to access educational and employment opportunities and earn permanent residency in the United States.
The DREAM Act proposes that immigrant minors under the age of 16 who have resided in the United States for at least five years qualify for a conditional residency status that lasts up to a period of six years when certain criteria is met. These children would need to show strong moral character, graduate from a U.S. high school or obtain a GED, and have a clean criminal history to take advantage of the DREAM Act’s benefits. Once the conditional residency is granted, they would then be entitled to the rights of American citizens to drive, attend school, seek employment, and take advantage of higher education opportunities. The Act does disqualify these immigrants from being eligible for federal Pell grants and other federally subsidized grants, but allows them to take advantage of work study programs and private loans to help pay for college. Those in the conditional residency program would also be limited in the amount of foreign travel they could do and in the time they would be allowed to stay abroad.
At the end of the conditional residency, the immigrant would become eligible to earn an unconditional permanent residency status in the U.S. The immigrant would have had to shown good ethical behavior throughout their conditional residency, will have limited their time abroad, and will have either graduated from a two year college, spent at least two years working to obtain a four year degree, or have served at least two years in the U.S. military. The DREAM Act would also provide the benefit of in-state tuition rates for college to anyone who qualifies, regardless of their immigration status.
The DREAM Act is designed to provide educational and employment opportunities to immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, but do not yet have permanent residency. While the Act will provide a pathway to immigrants becoming full, productive members of the American society, it is designed to encourage those who are successful students, law-abiding citizens, and hard-working individuals earn permanent U.S. citizenship.
The Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers and Citizenship Attorneys of Surin & Griffin Support Immigration Reform
The DREAM Act, as originally proposed and amended throughout its numerous re-introductions, continues be stalled along with immigration reform as a whole. To discuss immigration issues with a knowledgeable immigration attorney, call Surin & Griffin. If you or someone you know is facing an immigration issue, the highly qualified and committed immigration lawyers and citizenship attorneys at the Philadelphia law office of Surin & Griffin, P.C. can help. Conveniently located in downtown Philadelphia, we are a multi-lingual firm that is dedicated to helping you with all aspects of immigration law. Call us today at 215-925-4435 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation today.