S.1615 - Dream Act of 2017
Bill Summary by Elizabeth Jacobs | December 11, 2017
S. 1615, also known as the “DREAM Act of 2017”, was introduced by former Gang of Eight leaders Senators Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in July 2017. The legislation, which has repeatedly been rejected by Congress and the American people since Senator Durbin first introduced it in 2001, amends the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to give amnesty to millions of illegal aliens who arrived in the United States before their 18th birthday by offering work permits and a pathway to citizenship.
If history is precedent, the DREAM Act of 2017 is nearly guaranteed to spur additional mass illegal immigration to the United States. If Congress wants to enact true immigration reform, instead of maintaining the status quo of lawlessness, Congress must reject the DREAM Act and begin to prioritize the interests of American citizens. Integrity and credibility of U.S. immigration law requires strong enforcement efforts and legislation that focuses on protecting the American worker and public safety. Conversely, legislation, such as the DREAM Act, rewards lawless behavior that only jeopardizes employment and education opportunities for Americans, while putting us all at risk.
The DREAM Act’s Mass Amnesty Eligibility Requirements:
The DREAM Act requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to grant a conditional green card to any alien who:
- Has been continuously present in the United States for four years;
- Entered the United States under the age of 18;
- Is not inadmissible under certain criminal or national security grounds (crimes involving immigration law, however, are excluded from consideration);
- And has been admitted to an institution of higher education, earned a high school diploma or equivalent award, enrolled in secondary school or in an education program assisting students in obtaining a regular high school diploma or state-authorized exam.
The DREAM Act also requires DHS to immediately grant all DACA recipients with conditional green cards, unless they have engaged in conduct that would remove their eligibility from the DACA program.
After maintaining a conditional green card for eight years, the DREAM Act requires DHS to grant an illegal alien a standard green card so long as the alien continues to meet these requirements.
Why You Should Oppose the DREAM Act:
The DREAM Act Is An Amnesty Bill That Provides A Pathway to Citizenship for Millions of Illegal Aliens
Because there is no age cut off or time limit to the entry requirement, a sizable portion of the illegal alien population may qualify for a conditional green card under the DREAM Act, including future unlawful entrants who have yet to arrive. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that nearly 3.5 million illegal aliens may be immediately eligible for amnesty under these requirements. This population significantly larger and varied than those who benefited under President Obama’s DACA program, who ultimately numbered around 800,000.
The DREAM Act Is Not Subject to Any Cap
All Conditional Green Cards and standard Green Cards awarded under this bill are not subject to the green card cap set by Congress. Thus, the DREAM Act will allow for significant increases in competition to American workers immediately upon passage.
The DREAM Act Does Not Prohibit Beneficiaries From Sponsoring Their Family for Citizenship
Once an illegal alien has become a citizen as a result of the DREAM Act, nothing in the bill prohibits them from petitioning their family members to receive green cards, multiplying the potential reach of the amnesty to an overwhelming majority of illegal aliens in the country.
The DREAM Act Does Not Subject Illegal Aliens to Any Penalties for Their Unlawful Presence
The DREAM Act does not include any civil or criminal fines or penalties for blatant violations of U.S. immigration law. Once an illegal alien establishes that he or she meets the eligibility requirements outlined above, that alien is immediately eligible to be put on a pathway to citizenship.
The DREAM Act Grants Amnesty to Adults (Not Children)
Unlike the DACA program, the DREAM Act awards illegal aliens with conditional green cards no matter how long ago they entered the country. Therefore, an illegal alien who is in his fifties could qualify for a conditional green card so long as he initially entered the country under the age of 18. Additionally, all applicants must already be at least 15 years old to even apply.
The DREAM Act Will Reward the Lawlessness Created Under President Obama's Executive Amnesty Programs
Under the DREAM Act, unaccompanied alien minors that surged across the border, enticed by the creation of the DACA Program in 2012, will be eligible for a conditional green card under the DREAM Act once they have been physically present in the United States for four years. This bill is an overboard grant of amnesty and will do little to discourage more illegal immigration into the United States.
The DREAM Act Is Subject to Fraud
The DREAM Act requires government officials to accept a wide variety of easily forgeable documentation, including church and school records, and does little to safeguard against fraud in the application process. The omission of a secure verification system guarantees that the DREAM Act will be exploited by illegal aliens who are ineligible for a pathway to citizenship but nonetheless eager to remain in the United States.
The DREAM Act Will Cost Taxpayers Trillions
Recent estimates based of a Heritage Foundation study show that the DREAM Act will cost taxpayers at least $2 trillion over the next 50 years, primarily because most illegal aliens that stand to benefit from this bill are not skilled enough to get a job that pays more in taxes than the taxpayer-funded benefits they will likely receive.
The DREAM Act Is A Significant Expansion of Previous Versions of the Dream Act Introduced to Congress Over the Past Decade
Previous versions of the DREAM Act only offered amnesty to those who entered the country before the age of 16, not 18. Additionally, previous versions of the bill required illegal aliens to either join the military or finish two years of higher education. The DREAM Act allows illegal aliens to become LPRs by only maintaining employment and exempts full-time caregivers from all education or employment requirements.
What People Are Saying About the DREAM Act:
If you pass the so-called Dream Act, it will be the single biggest amnesty in the history of the United States, even bigger than the 1986 amnesty, which Ronald Reagan said was his biggest mistake in office.
- Senator Tom Cotton
The Dream Act also rewards the illegal immigrant parents who knowingly violated our laws. Once children become U.S. citizens, they can petition for their illegal immigrant parents and adult siblings to be legalized. Those adults will then bring in others in an endless chain, which only encourages more illegal immigration.
- Representative Lamar Smith
Because the DREAM Act is being marketed as a moral imperative – as opposed to a more general amnesty, which is sold as bowing to reality – it comes with an absolute assurance that it will be repeated. If we have a moral imperative to provide amnesty to the current population of people who were brought here as kids, won’t we have the same moral imperative for the next generation of people who arrive under similar circumstances? The unmistakable message to people all around the world is: Get over here and bring your kids. America will feel morally obligated to give them green cards too.
- FAIR Spokesperson, Ira Mehlman
Amnesty for illegal aliens is not immigration reform. It is simply repeating the mistakes of the past. The American people have repeatedly rejected sweeping amnesties for illegal aliens, and targeted ones such as the Dream Act, because amnesty is unwarranted and fails to recognize the American public as the primary stakeholder in U.S. immigration policy.
- FAIR President, Dan Stein