The DREAM Act
Fort Lauderdale Immigration Attorney
How does the recent policy change put forth by President Obama affect you, and your eligibility to continue to live in the USA, and what is the 'DREAM' Act? "DREAM" is an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors and is also known as "deferred action for children arrivals". This Act has not yet passed, but should it finally make it through Congress and become law, it will make it possible for certain young foreign nationals to avoid deportation and to seek permanent residency in the USA. There are new opportunities for those who entered the USA before the age of 16, are age 30 or younger, and are in the country without legal documentation, to have any deportation or immigration action against them "deferred." This is an important alternative for young people waiting for the DREAM Act to be passed.
President Obama issued an Executive Order deferring deportation action for a large number of young people who have lived in the USA for a long period, and are essentially, Americans – but still subject to deportation. This can be a serious problem, as many of these young people have made Florida their home, and may have never even visited the country of their birth, and being deported there would be a tragic situation for them.
Who is eligible?
A recent analysis of the numbers of people who may be eligible to continue to live in the USA under this Executive Order is expected to be approximately 950,000. The criteria in this "deferred action" order from the president has generally the same criteria as the Dream Act, although it is expected that if the DREAM Act finally passes, there will be more eligible, at current estimates it will be in the range of approximately 1.5 million young immigrants who will qualify for legal residency.
The requirements for eligibility are fairly strict, although most people will qualify. Some of these qualifications are as follows:
- You must have lived in the USA continuously for at least 5 years and be between the ages of 15 - 30;
- You must not have a felony conviction on your criminal record;
- You must not have what is termed a "significant" misdemeanor or 3 misdemeanors on your criminal record;
- You must be currently attending school, or have graduated from high school, have a GED or have served in the military.
- Some young people are under the age of 16 and so are not eligible, but should be in the future unless this executive order is cancelled in the future.
Conditional Permanent Residency Under the DREAM Act
What is "conditional permanent residency?" This means you will be able to legally work, drive, and travel and return to the USA without difficulty. The Act allows for 6 years, and there are some restrictions on travel. The bill as it stands allows for only 365 days total travel within 6 years to maintain your status of conditional permanent residency.
If you are concerned about your ability to stay in the USA and meet the criteria of the DREAM Act, it is possible you are eligible to get deferred action under the existing executive order. Every year it is hoped that this Act will pass, as it was authored on a bi-partisan basis. This Act continues to be stalled and has not passed. As a former undocumented resident of the USA, our expert Fort Lauderdale immigration lawyer, Luis A. Guerra, has a great deal of insight into what you are going through, and has dedicated his practice to assisting those who face the threat of deportation from the USA.
Contact our firm today to find out more about the DREAM Act and the Executive Order that allows for deferred action. Our Fort Lauderdale immigration lawyers are prepared to talk with you now!