What is Dream Act?
The Dream Act, short for Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors was brought into effect for the first time in the year 2001 by the Senate as an American legislative scheme. It granted provisional permanent citizenship to several residents who held no valid documents on the basis of their superior ethical nature. These residents were basically graduates from high schools, who arrived in the United States as minors and continued to live in the country for at least five years prior to the issue of the bill.
On completion of 2 years serving the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning, these residents were provided a temporary residency for six years. Within these six years, they were entitled to permanent citizenship if they had a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or completed two years in a program of Bachelor’s degree in the United States or have served the army for two years. The military however does not allow illegal immigrants to apply. Aliens, whose permanent resident status is terminated for whatever reason, shall return to their original immigration status.
This bill was basically introduced to help the youth who were brought in to the United States by parents who held no valid documents, who were at high school, find a path of for themselves by allowing them to apply for a valid citizenship and allowing them to continue their stay and college and education.
Members of Congress have passed several forms of this bill in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate. The United States faced several challenges during the passing of this bill. While some supported the bill and said it would lead to a number of social and economic benefits, there were critics who argued that this would cause illegal immigration and invite frauds in to the country.
How does one qualify for the Dream Act?
To qualify for the Dream Act there are strict guidelines that one has to follow:
- The applicant must have reached the United States before their 16th birthday
- The applicant must have resided in the United States for 5 consecutive years before passing of the bill
- The applicant must have graduated from high school or admitted in to a college or institute of higher learning or served the military forces at least for two years
- The applicant must be 30 or less than 30 years of age when applying for this
- The applicant must possess a good moral character to qualify.
What happens when the guidelines are met?
Once all the above mentioned requirements are met, the DREAM Act 2012 reinitiated by the President of United States, Barack Obama, would be passed. It is currently one vote short and hence on hold. Once it is passed, a person will be granted a temporary residence to continue staying in the United States for another six years on the condition that they follow the next set of guidelines that are prescribed.