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What is happening with the DACA and the Dream Act?

On Sep­tem­ber 5th, Pres­i­dent Trump made the deci­sion to end the Deferred Action for Child­hood Arrivals  (DACA) Pro­gram*. The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty announced that it would accept renewal appli­ca­tions for DACA recip­i­ents whose DACA would expire between Sep­tem­ber 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018. To renew, you had to sub­mit your appli­ca­tion by Octo­ber 5, 2017. 

After Octo­ber 5, 2017, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment is not accept­ing any appli­ca­tions for DACA. Those who have DACA will be pro­tect­ed until the expi­ra­tion date list­ed on their work per­mit.

With DACA over, we now look to Con­gress to pass a long-term, per­ma­nent solu­tion that will pro­tect young immi­grants and open a path­way to cit­i­zen­ship.

Over the last few months, 5 bills have been filed in Con­gress that want to do just that. 

Sen­a­tors Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lind­sey Gra­ham (R-SC) intro­duced a bipar­ti­san bill called the DREAM Act of 2017. If passed, it would offer a route to per­ma­nent legal sta­tus for mil­lions of undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grant youth. The DREAM Act of 2017 draws on essen­tial require­ments of ear­lier ver­sions of the DREAM Act. The min­i­mum thresh­old for con­sid­er­a­tion includes age of arrival, length of time in the Unit­ed States, and a clean crim­i­nal record. The DREAM Act of 2017 pro­pos­es a two-tiered process start­ing with con­di­tion­al sta­tus of eight years. With­in this time, if an indi­vid­u­al suc­cess­ful­ly attains at least a two-year post­sec­ondary degree or serves hon­or­ably in the mil­i­tary, or is con­tin­u­ous­ly employed con­di­tion­al sta­tus could be removed and they could obtain legal per­ma­nent res­i­dence.

BRIDGE Act (Bar Removal of Indi­vid­u­als who Dream and Grow our Econ­o­my)

Sen­a­tors Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lind­sey Gra­ham (R-SC) intro­duced bipar­ti­san leg­is­la­tion with the intent to allow young peo­ple who had received pro­tec­tion through DACA to receive “pro­vi­sion­al pro­tect­ed pres­ence” and work autho­riza­tion. The require­ments for the BRIDGE Act are essen­tial­ly the same as DACA. How­ev­er, an approved appli­cant is only pro­vid­ed pro­vi­sion­al pro­tect­ed pres­ence for three years after the enact­ment of the BRIDGE Act. Those with DACA would be pro­tect­ed until the expi­ra­tion of their work per­mits, and would then be eli­gi­ble to apply for pro­vi­sion­al pro­tect­ed pres­ence. The BRIDGE Act would not provide a path to cit­i­zen­ship.

The RAC Act ( Rec­og­niz­ing America’s Chil­dren)

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Car­los Curbe­lo (R-Flori­da) intro­duced the Rec­og­niz­ing America’s Chil­dren act with nine orig­i­nal Repub­li­can co-spon­sors. The bill would per­mit young undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants who were brought to the U.S. as chil­dren and have lived here since at least Jan­u­ary 1, 2012, to gain a five-year “con­di­tion­al per­ma­nent res­i­dent” sta­tus if they pur­sue voca­tion­al or high­er edu­ca­tion, enlist in the mil­i­tary or are gain­ful­ly employed, and meet oth­er require­ments. Con­di­tion­al per­ma­nent res­i­den­cy can be extend­ed once for a sec­ond peri­od of five years if an indi­vid­u­al has been enlist­ed in the mil­i­tary, has grad­u­at­ed from an insti­tu­tion of high­er edu­ca­tion, or has been con­tin­u­ous­ly employed. As soon as the con­di­tion­al per­ma­nent res­i­den­cy sta­tus is extend­ed, a recip­i­ent could apply to become a legal per­ma­nent res­i­dent.


Intro­duced by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Luis Gutier­rez, The Amer­i­can Hope Act would allow DACA ben­e­fi­cia­ries and oth­er immi­grant youth to apply for con­di­tion­al per­ma­nent res­i­dent sta­tus. After three years, those with con­di­tion­al per­ma­nent res­i­dent sta­tus can apply to obtain law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dent sta­tus. Time with DACA would count towards in indi­vid­u­als’ three years. The path towards cit­i­zen­ship would be a five-year path­way, but time in con­di­tion­al per­ma­nent res­i­dent sta­tus would count towards the five years need­ed to obtain cit­i­zen­ship. To qual­i­fy, indi­vid­u­als do not have to meet edu­ca­tion or oth­er require­ments oth­er than main­tain­ing con­di­tion­al per­ma­nent res­i­dent sta­tus with­out leav­ing the coun­try or com­mit­ting a deportable offense.


Sens. Thom Tillis (R-North Car­oli­na), James Lank­ford (R-Okla­homa) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) intro­duced the Solu­tion for Undoc­u­ment­ed Chil­dren through Careers, Employ­ment, Edu­ca­tion and Defend­ing our Nation (SUCCEED) Act (S. 1852). The bill would allow young undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants who were brought to the U.S. as chil­dren and have lived in the U.S. for at least five years to earn per­ma­nent legal sta­tus if they pur­sue high­er edu­ca­tion, enlist in the mil­i­tary or are gain­ful­ly employed, and meet oth­er require­ments. The SUCCEED Act would cre­ate a 15-year process that would allow young undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants to earn the abil­i­ty to be pro­tect­ed from depor­ta­tion, work legal­ly in the U.S., trav­el out­side the coun­try, and become a law­ful per­ma­nent res­i­dent.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ari­zona) intro­duced the Bor­der Secu­ri­ty and Deferred Action Recip­i­ent Relief Act (S. 1937) on Octo­ber 5, 2017. The bill would per­mit young undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants who were brought to the U.S. as chil­dren to earn per­ma­nent legal sta­tus if they pur­sue high­er edu­ca­tion, enlist in the mil­i­tary or are gain­ful­ly employed, and meet oth­er require­ments. In addi­tion, the bill would fund the con­struc­tion of 74 miles of fenc­ing and lev­ee wall along the south­west bor­der and provide the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty (DHS) Sec­re­tary with expand­ed author­i­ty to des­ig­nate cer­tain groups as crim­i­nal gangs or car­tels and detain, deport and block them from enter­ing the U.S.


What is a “clean” DREAM Act

You may have seen a lot of talk on social media advo­cat­ing for a “clean dream act”. Essen­tial­ly what this means is that we want leg­is­la­tion that is passed in Con­gress to be passed with­out dan­ger­ous enforce­ment pro­vi­sions added on in the form of amend­ments. For exam­ple, we would not want to see amend­ments added that call for fund­ing for a bor­der wall, or for more ICE agents, or a decrease in the num­ber of VISAs given out each year.

Who would benefit and what are the requirements?

What is happening next with the DREAM Act?

Immi­grant youth from all over the coun­try have been work­ing tire­less­ly to keep up the pres­sure on Con­gress to pass the Dream Act before their Christ­mas break. 

On Novem­ber 9, 2017, a nation­al day of action saw 30 schools in 10 states par­tic­i­pate in a walk­out for dream act. The same day, immi­grant youth flood­ed into the sen­ate build­ing in Wash­ing­ton DC advo­cat­ing for the pas­sage of the Dream Act. 

The 2017 Con­gres­sion­al Ses­sion ends Decem­ber 15th. Immi­grant youth can’t wait. Nation­al groups are mobi­liz­ing the ensure we keep pres­sur­ing Con­gress to pass the Dream Act in the House and the Sen­ate before the end of the ses­sion.

DACA in Tennessee

Did You Know?

The bottom line

$487,692,000 Annually: The Education Bump

In this analy­sis, the edu­ca­tion bump refers to a sce­nar­io in Ten­nessee in which we assume that half of those eli­gi­ble for the Dream Act obtain LPR sta­tus through the edu­ca­tion­al path­way by gain­ing either an associate’s degree or two years toward a bachelor’s degree. With a greater num­ber of work­ers now hav­ing high­er lev­els of edu­ca­tion, their total productivity—and their eco­nom­ic contributions—increase.

Take Action

Social Media

  1. Use the Unit­ed We Dream Face­book Frame call­ing for a Clean Dream Act
  2. Share your sto­ry! Tell us why you sup­port the Dream Act using #Drea­mAct­Now on twit­ter, Face­book, or Insta­gram
  3. Share any of the­se pre-made graph­ics using #Drea­mAct­Now on twit­ter, Face­book, or Insta­gram.
  4. Tweet direct­ly at our sen­a­tors Lamar Alexan­der (@SenAlexander) and Bob Cork­er (@SenBobCorker) telling them Ten­nessee youth are count­ing on them to co-spon­sor and sup­port the Dream Act by Christ­mas
  5. Sam­ple Tweets: @SenAlexander & @SenBobCorker: Ten­nessee youth are count­ing on you to sup­port the #Drea­mAct! The clock is tick­ing and we need a #Drea­mAct­Now!
    @SenAlexander & @SenBobCorker: 73% of all vot­ers sup­port leg­is­la­tion to pro­tect Dream­ers. Stand up for immi­grant youth in Ten­nessee and sup­port a #Drea­mAct­Now!
    @SenAlexander & @SenBobCorker: We need a clean #Drea­mAct­Now! We need you to take action and pro­tect immi­grant youth in Ten­nessee by Decem­ber!
  6. Find your Sen­a­tor and Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Twit­ter.

Call Your Member of Congress

Call­ing your mem­ber of Con­gress back be intim­i­dat­ing, but it’s shown to be the most effec­tive form of direct advo­ca­cy. If you have nev­er made a call to your mem­bers of Con­gress, or want some tips, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Know who rep­re­sents YOU — call­ing some­one you can’t vote for won’t be as impact­ful.

    To find your mem­bers of Con­gress, all you need to know is your home address. This page will also show you their pic­ture, how long they have been in Con­gress, their next elec­tion, their Twit­ter han­dle, offi­cial web­site, and direct num­ber to their DC office. Find my mem­ber of Con­gress

  2. You’re most like­ly going to speak to a staffer — that’s fine.
    Staffers field calls and take note of the issues that they get the most calls about. It’s impor­tant to stay con­nect­ed and con­tin­ue the calls. Staffers work direct­ly with your Con­gress­peo­ple and they are impor­tant. Be sure to com­mu­ni­cate your mes­sage firm­ly, but kind­ly.

  3. Be hon­est and tell your sto­ry — there is no wrong way to share about why you care about some­thing.
    By mak­ing a phone call, you get to share direct­ly about the issues you care about. You can call and share your name and your opin­ion, leave a voice­mail after office hours, or go into detail about why the issue you are call­ing about mat­ters to you and your com­mu­ni­ty. Shar­ing your sto­ry and your opin­ion is impor­tant, and there is no wrong way to do that. If you need to, first write out what you want to com­mu­ni­cate and have it with you in case you prefer to read it. 

  4. Remem­ber — you don’t have to be an expert on an issue to make a call about it.
    You don’t have to know every­thing about health care, tax­es, immi­gra­tion, or edu­ca­tion to make a phone call to your con­gress peo­ple when the­se issues come up. The per­son lis­ten­ing isn’t there to check your cre­den­tials, they are there to hear from you because their office rep­re­sents you.

    Sam­ple Script for call­ing to talk about the Dream Act:

    Hi, my name is [Your Name] and I my address is [your address]*. I am call­ing to urge [your congressperson’s name] to take quick action on the Dream Act. In Ten­nessee, almost 9,000 immi­grant youth are cur­rent­ly pro­tect­ed by DACA, but with DACA end­ing, each day that pass­es is one more young peo­ple start los­ing their pro­tec­tions and being at risk for depor­ta­tion. There are thou­sands of immi­grant youth in Ten­nessee that would ben­e­fit from the pass­ing of the Dream Act. Ensur­ing the Dream Act pass­es is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do for the eco­nom­ic future of Ten­nessee and the coun­try. (This is a good place to talk about why this mat­ters to you per­son­al­ly, or for your com­mu­ni­ty.) Please co-spon­sor the Dream Act, and to do every­thing in your pow­er to ensure we pass the Dream Act by Christ­mas.

    *Why do you need to give your address? Giv­ing your address, or at least your zip code, is the best way to show that you live in that congressperson’s area, and there­fore would be able to vote for her or him.


Par­tic­i­pate in a local action orga­nized by the Ten­nessee Immi­grant and Refugee Rights Coali­tion. Stay tuned for their actions and con­nect­ed to their work by fol­low­ing them on Twit­ter, Face­book, and Insta­gram! (Twit­ter: @TNimmigrant)