What is the Dream Act of 2017?

AILA Director of Government Relations Greg Chen shares why the Dream Act of 2017, introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Dubrin, is important. He also discusses details of the bill and what AILA members can do. Image source: Pixabay, ShonEjai.

AILA Video on Dream Act of 2017
In the latest edition of AILA Quicktake, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Digital Media Manager, Ellie Rutledge Silver, interviews AILA Director of Government Relations Greg Chen on why the Dream Act of 2017 is important.

What is the Dream Act of 2017?
The Dream Act of 2017 ("Act"), introduced by Senators Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and  Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), will grant conditional permanent resident status for certain long-term residents who entered the United States as children, in response to a move by a group of state Attorney Generals who have threatened to sue the Trump Administration if DACA isn't ended by September 5, 2017.

Who is eligible?
The law will cancel the removal and grant lawful permanent resident status (green card) on a conditional basis to an undocumented person or DACA recipient who:

  • has been continuously physically present in the U.S. for 4 years preceding the date of enactment;
  • was 17 years old or younger on the initial date of entry into the U.S.;
  • is not inadmissible on the following grounds: criminal, security and terrorism, smuggling, student visa abuse, ineligibility for citizenship, polygamy, international child abduction, or unlawful voting;
  • has not participated in persecution;
  • has not been convicted of: any federal or state offense punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year (other than a state offense for which an essential element is the person’s immigration status), or 3 or more federal or state offenses (other than state offenses for which an essential element is the alien’s immigration status) for which the person was convicted on different dates and imprisoned for an aggregate of 90 days or more; and
  • has been admitted to an institution of higher education, or has graduated from high school or obtained a GED or a high school equivalency diploma, or is enrolled in secondary school or in an education program assisting students in obtaining a high school diploma or in passing a GED or equivalent exam.

Bill Highlights

  • Inadmissibility bars may be waived for humanitarian purposes, family unity, or if the waiver is otherwise in the public interest.
  • Biometrics capture, background checks and medical examination will be undertaken to determine whether there is any criminal, national security, or other factor that would render the person ineligible for the conditional green card.
  • For children enrolled in school who are at least 5 years old and who would be eligible for relief under the Act, removal shall be stayed. The stay can be lifted if the person ceases to meet eligibility requirements.
  • There is no numerical limitation on the number of people who may be granted permanent resident status on a conditional basis under the Act.
  • Conditional permanent residency under the Act is valid for 8 years.
  • Special Hardship Exception for a person with disability or a full-time caregiver of a minor child; or the person’s removal from the U.S. would cause extreme hardship to the person or the person’s U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouse, parent, or child.

Stay tuned for updates on this quickly developing issue. If you are affected by this development or have questions about immigration and the green card process, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebook or LinkedIn for up-to-date immigration news.


Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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