On July 20, 2017, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the “Dream Act,” a bipartisan legislative effort that would allow immigrant students who grew up in the United States to earn lawful permanent residence. As of press time, co-sponsors also included Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).
“These young people have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here,” said Sen. Graham. “There is support across the country for allowing Dreamers—who have records of achievement—to stay, work, and reach their full potential. … [T]his may be an area where both parties can come together.”
Sen. Durbin said, “I’ll do everything in my power as a United States Senator to protect these Dreamers and give them the chance to become American citizens so they can contribute to a brighter future for all Americans. I first introduced the Dream Act 16 years ago and I’ll continue fighting until it becomes the law of the land. I thank Senator Graham for partnering with me in this bipartisan effort.”
The Dream Act would allow eligible young people to earn lawful permanent residence, and eventually U.S. citizenship, if they:
- Are longtime residents who came to the United States 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 the United States.
The text of the bill, S. 1615, is at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1615/cosponsors?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22congressId%3A115+AND+billStatus%3A%5C%22Introduced%5C%22%22%5D%7D&r=43&overview=closed. A related joint statement from Sens. Graham and Durbin is at https://www.lgraham.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?ID=EFDA943E-0686-45FB-A1DC-8621EC6716CE. A one-page summary is at https://www.durbin.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/The%20Dream%20Act%20onepager%20final.pdf. A section-by-section summary is at https://www.durbin.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Dream%20Act%20of%202017%20section%20by%20section.pdf.