What is the DREAM Act?

1 Jun

The University of Washington Daily has published two excellent articles by Lauren Kronebusch of the Daily staff. In Making The Dream A Reality, Kronebusch reports:

Having finished a study on undocumented-immigrant youth and young adults in Los Angeles, Roberto Gonzales, former assistant professor in the School of Social Work and now assistant professor at the University of Chicago, conducted a comparative study in and around Seattle, examining the experiences of undocumented youth in adolescence and young adulthood.

#He was implemental in making sure undocumented students at the UW had a “safe space” where they could share their everyday experiences, fears, and hopes with one another. For confidentiality reasons, much about the group is not reported here. Daniela was a part of the group while it was more formally organized under Gonzales’ leadership.

#In the past 10 years, Gonzales has spoken with hundreds of undocumented young adults who, like Daniela and Rebecca, have lived most of their lives in the United States.

#Many of those Gonzales spoke with had, as he described it, “Americanizing experiences.”

#“They’ve accumulated Americanizing experiences, and very importantly have subscribed to kind of ideals of meritocracy where, if they work hard, if they dream boldly enough, if they reach high enough, they can attain the goals,” Gonzales said. “For many of them, along the educational system, that’s been matched by their success, but once doors finally stop opening, they finish with school. … They find themselves with shrinking options.”

#Many of those interviewed, however, had finished high school with jobs in restaurants, factories, offices, and landscaping. Acquiring work, whether within or outside of a student’s field of study, acquiring work with or without a high-school diploma, finding a safe and secure place to live — those are all aspects any young adult faces, all aspects an undocumented young adult faces.

#“They grow up American in many ways,” Gonzales said. “They have American-born peers and friends, they’re moving together with a group of American born peers and friends, they do all of the things other kids do. … But at around 16, 17, 18 years old, they start to realize that as their friends are moving forward, … they find themselves stuck.”  http://dailyuw.com/news/2012/may/31/making-dream-reality/

See, ‘Nobody Can Take Education Away From You’ http://dailyuw.com/news/2012/may/31/nobody-can-take-education-away-you/

The National Immigrant Law Center provides a summary of the Dream Act:

Students with conditional permanent resident status would be able to work, drive, go to school, and otherwise participate normally in day-to-day activities on the same terms as other Americans, except that generally they would not be able to travel abroad for lengthy periods and they would not be eligible for Pell Grants or certain other federal financial aid grants. They would, however, be eligible for federal work study and student loans, and states would not be restricted from providing their own financial aid to these students. Time spent by young people in conditional permanent resident status would count towards the residency requirements for naturalization.

Requirements to lift the condition and obtain regular lawful permanent resident status

At the end of the conditional period, unrestricted lawful permanent resident status would be granted if, during the conditional period, the immigrant had maintained good moral character, avoided lengthy trips abroad, and met at least one of the following criteria:

Graduated from a two-year college or certain vocational colleges, or studied for at least two years toward a B.A. or higher degree, or

Served in the U.S. armed forces for at least two years.

The six-year time period for meeting these requirements would be extendable upon a showing of good cause, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would be empowered to waive the requirements altogether if compelling reasons, such as disability, prevent their completion and if removal of the student would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the student or to the student’s spouse, parent, or child.

In-state tuition: Restore state option

The DREAM Act would also repeal section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), which currently discourages states from providing in-state tuition or other higher education benefits without regard to immigration status.

Under section 505, states that provide a higher education benefit based on residency to undocumented immigrants must provide the same benefit to U.S. citizens in the same circumstances, regardless of their state of residence.

Since section 505 became law, twelve states have enacted laws permitting anyone, including undocumented immigrants, who attended and graduated from high school in the state to pay the in-state rate at public colleges and universities. The twelve states are California, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin. These states all pay the section 505 penalty by providing the same in-state discount rate to current residents of other states who previously went to high school and graduated in the state. The DREAM Act would repeal this penalty. This would not require states to provide instate tuition to undocumented immigrants, but rather would restore this decision to the states without encumbrance.


As with any law or law change, there are pros and cons.

Balanced Politics. Org has a really good summary of Dream Act pros and cons:



  1. The foundation of the United States, as it describes on our Statue of Liberty, is immigration.
  2. Millions of illegal immigrants will stay in the shadows of society without some path to citizenship.
  3. It would generate additional tax revenues from both employers and employees as jobs are allowed to come into the open.
  4. We’d be able to count on the American justice system to protect wronged individuals and hold criminal immigrants accountable, whereas now illegals are afraid to be a part of the system due to possible deportation.
  5. It’s inhumane to break up families that have built a life in America.
  6. It may be good for the U.S. economy since immigrants can fill jobs that most Americans don’t want, often at a much lower cost to businesses.
  7. Homeland Security resources that focus on illegal immigrants can be redirected to tracking and finding terrorists.
  8. The current legal immigration path to citizenship is costly, time-consuming, inefficient, and limited. Thus, people seeking entry into the U.S. often have no choice but to do so illegally.
  9. It brings freedom and a path to self-sufficiency that isn’t available to billions of others around the world who aren’t lucky enough to be born in the United States.
  1. A path to citizenship rewards people for breaking the law.
  2. It’s unfair to the people who have followed the rules in their quest for citizenship.
  3. It will create a flood of illegal immigrants from everywhere who will try to get in before the law goes into effect.
  4. The program would add millions of people to the welfare rolls, who consume government resources such as health care, social security, and education while paying little or no taxes. Thus, the out-of-control government deficits would be pushed further to the edge of bankruptcy.
  5. It further erodes the English language and American culture in the United States.
  6. It would take away more jobs from current American citizens and drive down wages of remaining jobs.
  7. It would create an influx of voters who support the president & lawmakers that gave them citizenship at the expense of existing citizens.
  8. It would lead to further overpopulation and crowding of American cities.
  9. Terrorists, drug dealers, and other foreign enemies will exploit any open border or amnesty policies put in place.
  10. Plenty of better solutions exist, such as increasing legal immigration limits and reforming worker visa programs.

Related Links


Many who support the Dream Act are looking a the impact of an aging population on a society.

Jeremy Laurance writes in U.K.’s Independent about the impact on aging. In Why an ageing population is the greatest threat to society:

Of all the threats to human society, including war, disease and natural disaster, one outranks all others. It is the ageing of the human population.

No invading army, volcanic eruption or yet undreamt of plague can rival ageing in the breadth or depth of its impact on society. Over the next half century the proportion of people aged 60-plus around the world is expected to more than double. By 2050, for the first time in human history, old people will outnumber child-ren on the planet.

In some developed counties the number of older people will be twice the number of children. The impact of this transformation will be felt in every area of life, including economic growth, labour markets, taxation, the transfer of property, health, family composition, housing and migration. And the “demographic agequake” is already under way.


A argument for immigration is that younger people are added to the population base and helps the aging problem.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

2 Responses to “What is the DREAM Act?”


  1. Your Questions About The Health Trust Aids Services | Healthy Silicone Valley - June 16, 2012

    […] Supreme Court Rejects Retroactive Application of Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA)Health Care Eligibility For Unauthorized Migrants – Moral & Practical ImplicationsWhat is the DREAM Act […]

  2. More about the DREAM Act: Freedom University in Georgia « drwilda - October 28, 2012

    […] A argument for immigration is that younger people are added to the population base and helps the aging problem. https://drwilda.com/2012/06/01/what-is-the-dream-act/ […]

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