Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin are teaming up to introduce The Development, Relief, and Education for Immigrant Minors Act (DREAM Act). This is a bi-partisan effort led by a prominent Republican (Graham) and a prominent Democrat (Durbin). The bill will be introduced to the Senate and the Judiciary Committee to reach an agreement. Both Durbin and Graham have introduced DREAM Act before, which would essentially provide legal statuses to immigrants who entered the country as children (DREAMERS). The legislation would allow these immigrants to obtain their permanent residency card and work towards citizenship. These immigrants must meet education and work requirements, among others. Currently, the DACA program exists as an executive order of President Obama and has never been passed by Congress.
The newly introduced bill is much more limited than what President Biden proposes for immigration reform. While President Biden’s proposal includes DREAMERS, it also includes a pathway to citizenship for approximately 11 million immigrants living in the U.S., broadens the use of technology at the border and other border enforcement efforts, and expands refugees' protection.
Immigration reform has been a topic discussed by Congress many times since the last major reform in 1996. Both parties have failed to reach a deal. Since DACA was created in 2012, Congress has attempted to create a pathway to citizenship for DREAMERS, but failed each time. In 2018, President Trump addressed the possibility of creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants brought into the country as children only if Congress approved $25 billion to build the border wall. Trump and the Senate never came to an agreement. One of the bills that President Trump vetoed would have allowed 1.8 million DREAMERS to stay in the United States while providing a citizenship pathway.
Senator Lindsey Graham states that the introduced bill is an excellent place to start the discussion on creating a reform that will be beneficial to DREAMERS and will not encourage future illegal immigration. There remains bi-partisan support for creating this pathway to citizenship for DREAMERS. While the Biden administration wants to do far more than this, he supports the pathway. The bill is not yet law and it must pass both the House and Senate before Biden can sign it into law.
If you have any questions regarding how this bill may impact your case, please call Pikes Peak Immigration to schedule a consultation or a meeting.