The DREAM Act (acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) is an American legislative proposal for a multi-phase process for undocumented immigrants in the United States that would first grant conditional residency and upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency.

The bill was first introduced in the Senate

on August 1, 2001, S. 1291 by Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch, and has since been reintroduced several times (see legislative history) but has failed to pass.

Requirements for conditional resident status

  • Person must have proof that they entered United States before the age of 16 and must have continuously lived in the country for at least 5 years
  • Must have graduated from a United States high school or obtained a GED
  • Person demonstrates good moral character
  • Pass criminal background checks and reviews/Came legally

After having obtained and held conditional resident status, permanent residency may be granted if the following requirements have been met in a period of six years.

Requirements for permanent residency

  • have attended an institution of higher learning or served in the United States military for at least 2 years and if discharged, have received an honorable discharge
  • pass another series of background checks
  • continue to demonstrate good moral character

If these requirements are not fulfilled the conditional resident will lose their legal status and be subject to deportation.

Supporters argue that the Act would not create an “amnesty program” and would produce a variety of social and economic benefits, while critics contend that it would reward undocumented individuals and encourage more of it, inviting fraud and shielding gang members from deportation.



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