Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Senators Reintroduce Immigration Reform Bill Protecting Dreamers

Just yesterday, Senators Dick Durbin and Lindsey Graham introduced the latest duplication of the Dream Act which is a part of a new immigration reform.

The proposed legislation which was first introduced in 2001 would give some young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children the opportunity to pursue a path toward citizenship. The reintroduction comes as President Biden begins rolling out his new immigration reform agenda, thus, aiming to reverse many of former President Trump’s immigration policies.

In 2012, President Obama created the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program after the Dream Act failed to pass in Congress multiple times. DACA protects young undocumented immigrants who would be impacted by the Dream Act from deportation, but the program itself does not provide a path to citizenship.

Trump attempted to end DACA during his presidency, but the Supreme Court blocked his attempts. On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order preserving DACA.

Senator Durbin stated, “It is clear that only legislation passed by Congress can give Dreamers the chance they deserve to earn their way to American citizenship”. The Dream Act would grant young undocumented immigrants a lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they meet certain criteria which includes graduating high school or earning a GED, pursuing higher education, working or serving in the military, as well as passing background checks.

The Dream Act of 2021 is identical to the versions introduced the last two times. Senator Graham indicated in a statement that he would like to pass the Dream Act not as a standalone bill but rather as part of a comprehensive immigration package. He further stated, “I believe it will be a starting point for us to find bipartisan breakthroughs providing relief to the Dreamers and also repairing a broken immigration system.”

In the last 15 years, Congress has not passed a comprehensive immigration bill. According to the Pew Research Center survey, about three- quarters of Americans support granting permanent legal status to Dreamers.