There’s a New Bipartisan DREAM Act

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) presented a new bipartisan DREAM Act bill Thursday in Washington, D.C. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are the co-sponsors of the bill.

The press conference was live streamed on YouTube:

This is another attempt by lawmakers to pass a bill that could fix part of the country’s broken immigration system.

There is approximately one million undocumented young immigrants, know as DREAMers, who came to the U.S at an early age.

“We don’t believe that young people should be held responsible for the errors or the illegals actions of their parents,” Sen. Durbin said during the press conference.

“We believe that those who are brought to the U.S as children, have grown up in this country, have no criminal record, who are prepared to serve this country in variety ways should be given the chance to make America a better nation,” Durbin added.

Currently, there are around 900,000 young people protected by President Obama’s DACA executive order. The order was established in 2012 after Congress was not able to agree on a piece of legislation that would address the situation. It is now facing legal challenges.

DACA gives a work permit, social security number and protection from deportation to these DREAMers.

“You stay if you can prove that you are moving in the right direction and you can add value to our country,” Sen. Graham said during the conference.

Durbin has been introducing different versions of the DREAM Act since 2001.

The new DREAM Act introduced are the press conference presented these eligibility requirements.

  • Have come to the U.S before they were 17 years old.
  • Haven’t committed a felony.
  • Must have been in the country for four years from the day the legislation passes
  • Have graduated from High School or gotten a GED
  • Pursuing higher education
  • Either they serve two years in the military or work lawfully for three years
  • Have fulfill an English language requirement
  • Have undergone a criminal background check and paid a fee

This bill is very similar to versions introduced before. One of the new additions to the provision is that the person needs to demonstrate three years of work and be in the country for at least four years after the legislation is enacted.

This bill will not consider undocumented parents of U.S citizens. “This is not about the parents,” Sen. Graham said at the end of the press conference.

The rough draft does not specify the fee costs DREAMers would have to pay.

The introduction of the bill comes one day after Trump’s administration said they will not support the bipartisan bill, as McClatchy reported.

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María Camila Montañez is a journalism student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Spanish-language program. She is originally from Colombia and tweets from @mariacmontanez.

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