The Dream Act

June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

The purpose of the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) is to give an opportunity to undocumented immigrant students who have been living in the US since they were young.

You should meet the following requirements one would need in order to qualify under the DREAM Act.

  • You should have entered the US before the age of 16.
  • You should have been present in the US for at least five consecutive years before the enactment of the bill
  • You should have graduated from a US high school, or have obtained a GED, or have been accepted into an institution of higher education.
  • You should be between 12 and 35 old at the time of application
  • You should have good moral character

If you do not fulfill the above mentioned initial requirements, you are not eligible to apply. You will be be disqualified and stripped of the Conditional Permanent Residency if you have left the US for long periods of time, not completed the two years of college or military service in the allotted six years, have become a public charge or you received a dishonorable discharge from the military.

If you satisfy all the conditions at the end of the 6-year conditional period, you will be granted permanent residency, which eventually will allow you to qualify for American citizenship.

If you are disqualified by committing one or more of the situations mentioned above, you will return to the previous level of status you had prior to receiving conditional permanent residency. In most cases it would mean returning to undocumented status and would again be subject to deportation.

If you have not graduated high school, obtained a GED or have not been accepted into college, you can stay in the US and not be deported if you are enrolled full-time in primary or secondary school and are 12 years of age or older. Once you have completed high school or obtained a GED, you will then qualify to apply for Conditional Permanent Residency.

Good moral character broadly can be characterized as being a law-abiding resident of the US.  Some students may have committed minor crimes such as misdemeanors before they turned 18, those minor incidents may not be an obstacle in their application process for Conditional Permanent Residency as much as being convicted of a felony would. However, since there are no guidelines, no one can be dead sure on which crimes would impact one’s application.

Conditional Permanent Residency is similar to Legal Permanent Residency. However, it lasts for only 6 years and you will not be able to travel abroad for long periods of time. The current legislation states that a person can travel abroad up to 365 days in total for the entire 6 years under Conditional Permanent Residency. You will also qualify for student loans and federal work-study programs, but not for federal financial aid such as Pell Grants.

 

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