The DREAM and Promise Act, is the latest version of the legislative proposal that seeks to establish guidelines and processes to be observed when granting approval for residency to undocumented immigrants who were minors at the time of their arrival, or entry in the U.S. The bill also merges similar initiatives for the group of illegal immigrants that previously received protection from the 2012 DACA, counting from their age as minor upon arrival in the U.S toward date of enactment as immigration law..
DREAM stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, while DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
Origin and Development of the Proposed DREAM Act
DREAM had its origins in the 2001 DREAM Act introduced in the Senate as a bipartisan proposal initiated by Senator Dick Durbin (Dem-Illinois) and Senator Orrin Hatch (Rep-Utah). The 2001 DREAM Act though failed to pass muster in Congress, despite several re-introductions; therefore it never received full recognition as immigration law.,
In 2017, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, sponsored the DREAM Act of 2017, which sought to give recipients of DACA 2012, opportunities for stabilizing their U.S. residency and increase their potential for becoming citizens of the United States
Should the current proposal, entitled as DREAM and Promise Act receive Congressional approval, as many as 2.5 million people will be able to apply for legal status, and have the chance to take a path that could ultimately lead to a US citizenship status.
Understanding the Need to Include DACA Recipients in the DREAM and Promise Act
First off, it must be understood that DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is not a law but merely a program created under the Obama Administration in 2012. The program’s goal was to provide protection to young immigrants aged 16 and below, from potential deportation proceedings, whilst affording them opportunities to enroll in schools, land jobs, and even serve in the military.
In order to enjoy such privileges, undocumented immigrants requesting for DACA protection from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must meet certain qualifications, particularly pertaining to age eligibility at that time the program was introduced in 2012. However, in 2017, a year after Donald Trump’s assumption of office as president of the United States, Trump ordered the cancellation of former President Obama’s 2012 DACA protection program.
The move however, met several lawsuits including legal challenges filed by several U.S. states. Although the presiding courts ordered the USCIS to grant renewals of existing DACA protection, decisions on the matter is still subject to review since DACA is only a program and not a law.
In the state of Arizona, and even before Donald Trump had made good on his plans to implement certain changes in the country’s immigration policies, the City of Tucson had published and circulated a “Resource Guide for Immigrant Families. The publication, which contained information about local support and legal options available in Tucson, it also gave advise to know one’s rights by seeking assistance from Tucson immigration services.