The U.S. Senate introduced two bills last month which would give hope to those individuals who were brought to the United States as children and grew up in this country. They are the American Hope Act and the Dream Act of 2017. The American Hope Act 2017 provides legislation to permanently protect young undocumented immigrants regardless of educational level, military service or work history. These individuals will have entered the United States before the age of 18 and have been continuously present since December 31, 2016. They will pass a background check and not have been convicted of certain crimes and immigration violations. It will give them the chance to apply for lawful permanent residence, and eventually apply for citizenship.
The American Hope Act 2017 provides a path to citizenship that is based on human rights and dignity and not just one’s ability to work, join the military or go to school. It allows those who are not currently pursuing secondary education to obtain CPR status (given that they meet the other requirements) and to eventually apply for LPR status without following a specific education, military, or work-based track. It also expands eligibility to youth to those who have been in the country since Dec. 31, 2016, thus giving even the most recent young arrivals a chance to become citizens.
These bills are looked on with favor by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
AILA Director of Government Relations Greg Chen noted, “For more than a decade, the American public has supported granting legal status to Dreamers, viewing these young people as a benefit to our society and a key factor in our shared prosperity. Every day, Dreamers and their families, even those granted temporary protection under DACA, live in fear of deportation. These bills would lift the cloud hanging over them and also offer the hope for a lasting future in the country they already call home. Congress has the chance to move forward on these measures in both chambers, and AILA calls on Senators and Representatives to act without delay. In the meantime, President Trump must protect DACA recipients by announcing once, and for all, that he will keep the DACA program in place until a bill that protects Dreamers becomes law.”