DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) was a legislation that was developed to provide the opportunity for undocumented students to attend university or even at least college. This legislation stipulated that states would be allowed to offer in-state tuition rates to those foreign students who had lived in the state for over five years and under the age of twenty-one. DREAM aimed at providing an easier path for legalization of the immigrants especially the youth and young adults (Aleinikoff, Martin and Mortomura 112).
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The introduction was by Senators Richard Durbin and Orrin Hatch. The goal of this program was to enable immigration reforms that are comprehensive, each time being supported in senate discussions. Durbin and Howard Berman reintroduced this legislation in 2009. Beneficiaries had an opportunity of joining the military or pursue an education in university or college. The bill provided special incentives for alien students who got enrolled in secondary school or in elementary school (Paul 112).
Criteria for Meeting the Dream Act Status
- The youth should have lived in the United States before age 16.
- One should have been present continuously for at least five years in the United States prior to the legislation’s enactment.
- The minor should have obtained some education especially a high school diploma or an equivalent such as General Education Development diploma.
- One should be 35 years and below of age.
Recipients for this conditional status would be allowed to work in the United States, attend school, and travel freely within and outside the country. This would, however, last for only six years (Paul 98). The recipient or immigrant could then apply for Permanent citizenship as governed by the law. That is, the immigrant must have obtained a higher education degree in at least two years and must have shown good character.
George W. Bush, the former United States president, also reiterated on the rights of the young people by saying, “If their parents are undocumented or in immigration limbo, most of these young people have no mechanism to obtain legal residency even if they have lived most of their lives here (Aleinikoff, Martin and Mortomura 100). Yet, many of these young people may wish to join the military and have the attributes needed, such as education, aptitude, fitness, and moral qualifications” [CQ Congressional Testimony; “Immigration and the Military”; July 10, 2006].
Human capital to be offered by the young people would be an ultimate resource for societies and the legislation will give stability and opportunity to these young Americans with limited education or limited prospects in a career (Siegfried 16).
The DREAM Act aims at providing an easy path for immigrants of a young age, who are unauthorized, in the United States, to pursue education and a consequent registration to a permanent resident status (Paul 445).
A large number of people especially the youth could prefer to pursue a permanent legal status if the DREAM Act would be passed. The act would bring about a good opportunity for many youth and young adults. Moreover, they will be able to acquire permanent legal status something that will go along to increase significantly their investment in the labor capital and service to the United States of America (Paul 45).
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Aleinikoff, Alexander, David Martin, Hiroshi Mortomura and Maryellen Fullerton. Immigration and nationality laws of the United States. New Jersey: St. Pauls West Printing Press, 2010.
Paul, John. Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope. A Pastoral Letter Concerning Migration from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States. Vatican, 2010.
Siegfried, John. National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Sydney: Routeledge CA, 2009.