The 2013 immigration reform bill was first introduced to the Senate in April of last year. While it passed in the Senate, the bill has stalled in the House. A bill needs approval from both chambers for it to become law.
If the proposed legislation is eventually passed by the House, it must be the same version that was approved by the Senate in order to avoid the law having to be reconciled. The bill is currently referred to as S. 744 and contains a number of regulations and policies. As part of my ongoing series dedicated to the legislation, I have written today's piece about the DREAM Act.
The previous version of the DREAM Act was a proposed piece of federal legislation that would have provided legal status for millions of undocumented young people. The DREAM Act is short for the Development Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act. It was first introduced to Congress in 2001 and has been consistently re-introduced each session.
Over the years, the Act has come up for vote only a handful of times and has never been successful. Different versions of the DREAM Act have been offered to Congress since it was first introduced in 2001, but the principal conditions have remained the same. In order to be eligible for the DREAM Act, the immigrant must have met the following requirements:
- Entered the U.S. at the age of 15 or younger;
- Able to prove five years of presence in the U.S. prior to the bill's passage;
- Obtain a GED or high school diploma; and
- Is under the age of 30.
The newest version of the DREAM Act is discussed in Section 2103 of S. 744. Here, the DREAM Act is a part of the RPI (Registered Provisional Immigrant) Program. Those who qualify under the DREAM Act are known as “DREAMers” and are placed on an even more accelerated path to permanent legal status and citizenship than are others who are eligible for the RPI program.
While the time frame is different for DREAMers, the application process remains the same. Under S. 744, DREAMers may apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status after only five years in RPI status. Other RPI participants must wait ten years before applying for Lawful Permanent Resident status. Further, DREAMers are authorized to apply for citizenship immediately after receiving their green card.
In order to qualify for the program, the immigrant must have entered the U.S. before turning 16, maintained RPI status for a minimum of five years, received a high-school diploma or GED, completed a minimum of two years of college or four years of military service, and passed an English test and background checks.
If you have any questions related to immigration matters, contact The Law Offices of Matthew H. Green as soon as possible. My associates and I have the experience and background necessary to guide you through the legal process and will work with you and your family to obtain a positive outcome.