The DREAM Act
The Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act
Over three million students graduate from U.S. high schools every year. A majority of them have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and live their American story. However, approximately 65,000 youth are not able to do so. They cannot drive, cannot work legally, cannot further their education, nor can they pay taxes to contribute to the economy, simply because they were brought to this country illegally by their parents or they lost their legal status along the way. These youth have lived in the U.S. for most of their lives. The DREAM Act is a bipartisan legislation, pioneered by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Illinois's own Senator Richard Durbin (D). Under its provisions, eligible undocumented youth would qualify for a six-year-long conditional path to citizenship that requires completion of a college degree or two years of military service. The CHRC offers its continued support of the Act as it works its way through Congress. On Wednesday, December 8th, 2010, the DREAM Act passed in the House.
2012: Obama Administration Plan to Stop Deportations of DREAM Act Youth
The Center for the Human Rights of Children continues to support the DREAM Act. As such, the CHRC commends President Barack Obama’s announcement on June 16, 2012, which halts removal proceedings for eligible DREAM Act-eligible immigrant children. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, those who demonstrate that they meet certain criteria will be eligible to receive deferred action and protected from removal proceedings for a period of two years, subject to renewal. It provides discretionary relief to approximately 800,000 young adults who were brought to this country at a young age, with or without their consent. It also allows them to work legally, to provide for themselves and their families, and to contribute to the U.S. via tax revenue. This does not constitute the comprehensive, original DREAM Act, but is still a promising motion toward advancing the rights and protections of undocumented immigrant youth.
2013 UPDATE: Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine becomes the first medical school in the nation to announce that it is accepting applications for admission from undocumented immigrants in response to President Barack Obama’s DACA program.