December 8, 2010
CARSON VOTES TO APPROVE DREAM ACT
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman André Carson today voted to approve the DREAM Act, which will create a pathway to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.
This bipartisan legislation puts forward a decade-long process for a limited group of young people who were brought to the United States as children and have grown up in the country.
"These children had no control over how they came to this country, and it would be unfair to punish them because of their parents' decisions," said Congressman Carson. "For most of them, this is the only home they have ever known and they are fully invested in contributing to this country for the long term."
Under the legislation, an applicant who meets the bill's requirements becomes a "conditional nonimmigrant" only if he or she meets a set of criteria including:
- They were brought to the United States as a child
- They have lived in the U.S. for 5 years or more before the date of enactment
- They have graduated from an American high school, obtained a GED or is admitted to an institution of higher education.
"These individuals are already students working hard in our middle and high schools, and in order for us to see the benefits of this significant investment in their education, we need to provide them with a path to citizenship. It is a path that has strict time requirements and guidelines, but it will allow students the opportunity to go to college or serve in the military, which will help improve our economy and national security for years to come."
The process for DREAM Act students to become U.S. citizens will take a minimum of 13 years, without factoring in administrative backlogs and delays.
More information about the DREAM Act
- The Dream Act would allow an individual to obtain conditional nonimmigrant conditional status only if he or she meets all of the following requirements:
- Was brought to the United States as a child (15 years old or younger) and is currently 29 years old or younger
- Has lived in the U.S. for 5 years or more before the date of enactment;
- Has graduated from an American high school, has obtained a GED, or is admitted to an institution of higher education
- Has been a person of "good moral character," as defined by U.S. immigration laws, from the date the individual initially entered the United StatesSubmits biometric and biographic information and completes security and law-enforcement background checks
- Undergoes a medical examination
- Registers for the Selective Service
- Pays a significant surcharge in connection with the initial application
- A successful Dream Act applicant receives a conditional status for an initial period of 5 years.
- After those 5 years, the individual applies for an extension of their conditional status for a second period of 5 years
- An individual is allowed to obtain the 5-year extension of their conditional status only if he or she meets all of the following requirements:
- Has demonstrated good moral character during the 5-year period they have had conditional status
- Has lived continuously in the United States during the 5 years
- Has either earned a degree from an institution of higher education; completed at least two years of post-secondary education in good standing towards a bachelor's degree; or served in the U.S. Armed Forces for at least two years and, if discharged, has received an honorable discharge
- After 10 years in conditional status, the Dream Act then gives this limited group of young, individuals the chance to earn lawful permanent resident status, but only if the applicant meets all of the following additional standards:
- Has paid taxes
- Has demonstrated the ability to read, write, and speak English and demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, principles, and form of government of the United States
- Has maintained good moral character throughout the 10 years
- Has lived continuously in the United States throughout the 10 years
- Has once more submitted biometric and biographic information and completed security and law-enforcement background checks
- An individual would then be able to apply for U.S. citizenship only after they have spent an additional 3 years as permanent residents