ACBA
The state Bar of California
Asian American Bar Association
American Immigration Lawyers Association
ATLA
Expertise
Expertise 2021

House DREAM Act Would Help Many Undocumented Immigrants

California participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program could benefit from legislation passed in the House of Representatives, but the Senate is unlikely to approve it. The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 received votes from all 230 Democrats and seven Republicans.

The immigration bill would help undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children become permanently legal and get access to federal student aid. It would also help immigrants covered under Temporary Protection Status and Liberian immigrants in the Deferred Enforced Departure Program get permanent residency. In all cases, applicants would need to fulfill certain conditions. For example, people brought into the country as children would need to have worked a full-time job for at least three years, served in the military or have two years of a college education. There are other requirements as well, such as needing to have lived in the United States for the previous four years. Other requirements would apply to TPS and DED recipients, including no felony convictions. Furthermore, it would become more difficult to remove countries from the TPS designation.

President Obama began the DACA program in 2012. There are around 700,000 participants. The Trump administration has made repeated efforts to end it, but so far, the legal system has prevented this.

Although this piece of legislation may not pass, an attorney still may be able to help a person who was brought to the country as a child remain. There could be other avenues for getting permanent residency or citizenship. However, they may differ from the avenues other friends or family have followed since immigration law has been undergoing a number of changes. An attorney may be able to keep a person apprised of changes in the law, assist with deportation defense and help with appeals.

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