“I believe that The DREAM Act is a sensible piece of legislation and should be passed. The DREAM Act will allow innocent children to come ‘out of the shadows’ and take their shot at the American Dream.” – Dr. Bruce Peller
Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors
“The DREAM Act”
The DREAM Act was first introduced in August 2001 by United States Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). There were eighteen cosponsors including six Republican senators. Since that initial filing, the DREAM Act has been reintroduced five times, most recently in May 2011.
Under the 2009 version of the Senate bill (H.R.1275) DREAM Act beneficiaries must:
- Have proof of having arrived in the United States before age 16.
- Have proof of residence in the United States for at least five consecutive years since their date of arrival.
- If male, have registered with the Selective Service.
- Be between the ages of 12 and 35 at the time of bill enactment.
- Have graduated from an American high school, obtained a GED, or have been admitted to an institution of higher education.
- Be of good moral character
Source: Library of Congress, Thomas Bill Finder
In 2010, Senate Bill 3992 was introduced to address Republican objections to previous versions. Changes included:
- It does not repeal the ban on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. The DREAM Act does not force states to charge in-state tuition rates for illegal immigrants. The DREAM Act does not allow illegal immigrants to gain access to Federal Pell Grants and other financial aid.
- Further limits eligibility for conditional non-immigrant status by specifically excluding anyone who has done the following:
- Has committed one felony or three misdemeanors;
- Is likely to become a public charge;
- Has engaged in voter fraud or unlawful voting;
- Has committed marriage fraud;
- Has abused a student visa;
- Has engaged in persecution; or
- Poses a public health risk.
- Gave a conditional non-immigrant the chance to earn resident status only after two years and only if he meets the DREAM Act’s college or military service requirements, and other requirements: pays back taxes and demonstrates the ability to read, write, and speak English.
Impact in the NC 5th Congressional District
Passage of the DREAM Act would benefit almost 2.1 million Hispanic young people in the United States, 2% of who reside in North Carolina. In our district, passage of this legislation would assist almost 4,000 young people who are eager for the chance to become American citizens. (2009 Pew Hispanic Center)