Senator Richard Durbin, D-IL re-introduced on Wednesday the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, one day after President Obama’s speech on immigration reform.
The DREAM Act – first proposed in 2001 – would grant people who entered the U.S. illegally before the age of 16 conditional permanent resident status for a period of six years, after which they would be eligible to become legal permanent residents, if they obtain at least an associate-level college degree to be eligible for legal permanent resident status or serve in the two years in the military.
A study by the Migration Policy Institute released last year indicates that the DREAM Act could benefit up to 2.1 million undocumented youth, even though only about 825,000 would gain permanent legal status. In Florida there are about 192,000 potential DREAM Act beneficiaries.
Late last year the act passed the House of Representatives, but despite majority support failed to pass in the Senate.
According to the Immigration Policy Center every year approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school, many at the top of their classes, but cannot go on to college, join the military, or get jobs after the graduate.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, FAIR -that opposes the DREAM Act- has called it, “a sweeping illegal alien amnesty bill.”