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Portions of DREAM Act enacted with executive order

As we've discussed in earlier posts this year (June 13, March 21) the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, has garnered a lot of attention and raised many hopes this year. The federal legislation would give permanent resident status to undocumented students and military service members brought illegally to the U.S. by their parents. Because Congress has been unable to pass the bill at the federal level, many states have attempted to adopt their own versions, including New York.

Nonetheless, the Obama administration announced an executive order last month whereby, the United States will stop actively deporting young undocumented residents. In essence, the U.S. Immigration Law was changed by executive order. Some say the President essentially and unilaterally enacted portions of the Dream Act, bypassing Congress. There are approximately 11 million undocumented migrants, and this order will apply to about 800,000 of them.

What, exactly, does it mean?

If you were brought to this country under the age of 16 and you are now under the age of 30, have lived in this country at least five years, are currently in school or have at least a high school diploma, honorably discharged from the military, and have no criminal history, you can gain citizenship to the U.S.

The ideas behind the DREAM Act are not new. The bipartisan bill has been introduced every year in Congress during the past decade. The legislation passed in the House of Representatives in 2011, but not the Senate.

Immigration advocacy groups are warning young immigrants to beware of fraudulent organizations targeting youngsters affected by the DRAM Act offering to help with citizen "applications."

In addition, the country's top universities sent a letter to Obama just last week seeking new laws that would make it easier for the international graduates to stay in America after graduation and create new jobs.

Source:, "Immigrants Happy, Anxious About Obama's Order To Stop Deporting Students," July 11, 2012

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