ACE and 32 other higher education associations are urging the Senate to approve the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017, which would allow a select group of talented young undocumented immigrants—commonly known as Dreamers—to earn lawful permanent residence and have access to a path toward citizenship.
In a letter sent today, the groups urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) to advance this important legislation so that the Senate can quickly pass the Dream Act before the end of the year.
The bill, co-authored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), would establish eight-year conditional permanent residency status for those brought to this country as minors, have been here at least four years as of the enactment date, graduate from a U.S. high school, obtain a GED credential or been admitted to higher education, and meet other requirements.
“This bill is designed to focus on the special case of undocumented young people who came to this country because of the actions of their parents,” the letter states. “They grew up with American values and traditions, making them American in virtually every way except for their immigration status. These individuals often have to overcome significant barriers to graduate from high school, and we cannot afford to stymie their aspirations to continue their education and contribute to our economy and society.”
More than 560 college and university presidents sent a letter in March to President Trump in support of the approximately 750,000 young people who have temporary permission under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program initiated in 2012 by President Obama to stay in the country and obtain work permits.
ACE has long supported Dream Act legislation, which has been introduced in every Congress since the early 2000s.