Reps. Roybal-Allard & Ros-Lehtinen Introduce DREAM Act of 2017
Today, Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27) introduced the DREAM Act of 2017, a bipartisan bill allowing certain U.S.-raised immigrant youth to earn lawful permanent residence and American citizenship. These young people, known as DREAMers, have lived in America since they were children and have built their lives here. America is the only home they know and love, and they are American in every way except for their immigration status. However, under current law, they live in fear of deportation and cannot fully realize their potential or utilize their talents in service to the United States.
This 2017 version of the DREAM Act, which can be read here, is the latest of several bills that have been introduced in order to address the issue of undocumented childhood arrivals. The DREAM Act of 2017 has also been introduced in the Senate by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
“This bipartisan, bicameral DREAM Act is the most progressive yet, and moves the ball forward for protecting DREAMers – individuals who have built their lives here and call no other country their home,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, a co-author of the original DREAM Act in 2001, as well as the co-chair of the Women’s Working Group on Immigration Reform and the ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. “Congress cannot allow DREAMers to be targeted. Congress must offer them hope. Congress must pass our DREAM Act. I strongly urge all my House colleagues to co-sponsor this bill, and seize this precious opportunity to protect America’s DREAMers.”
“For far too long, Dreamers have lived with the fear of deportation and an uncertainty about their future which negatively impacts their ability to succeed,” said Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen. “My colleague, Lucille, and I are introducing the House version of the DREAM Act, which is a bipartisan and bicameral bill, in order to keep the best and brightest in our country and improve our shared home. Along with co-sponsoring the BRIDGE Act and RAC Act, I'm committed to a commonsense immigration policy that does not punish those who are working to better themselves and our nation.”
Since 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has enabled DREAMers to come out of the shadows to work, go to school, and give back to their communities and this country without fear of deportation. However, Texas and eight other states have issued an ultimatum to President Trump to rescind DACA by September 5, 2017, or be sued. The DREAM Act of 2017 will force the U.S. government to uphold its end of the DACA agreement.
The DREAM Act will allow young people to earn lawful permanent residence, and eventually American citizenship, if they:
• Are longtime residents who came to the U.S. as children;
• Graduate from high school or obtain a GED;
• Pursue higher education, work lawfully for at least three years, or serve in the military;
• Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee;
• Demonstrate proficiency in the English language and a knowledge of United States history; and
• Have not committed a felony or other serious crimes and do not pose a threat to our country.
America has already invested in these young people by educating them in our schools, and they are now a vital part of our workforce. They contribute to our economic growth and our society as teachers, engineers, nurses, and small business owners. The DREAM Act would strengthen America by keeping these talented and ambitious young people in our country, rather than losing their talents to foreign competitors.