The Dream Act Summary

The Dream Act Summary


Questions pertaining to illegal immigrants have always brewed contention. Different views have been expressed as to exactly what measures should be taken. The contention gets even deeper when considering individuals who were brought into the United States as children and have known this country as their home. This is essentially why the DREAM Act was crafted.

The DREAM Act is an acronym for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. The bill seeks to give extremely talented illegal aliens within a certain age group an opportunity to gain legal citizen status. This bill was initially introduced in the senate and the House of Representatives in 2001. However, it has failed to garner support throughout the subsequent times of its introduction in the Senate including 2003, 2005, 2007, 2007, 2009 and 2011 (Olivas, 2012). While its co-sponsors have changed with time, the bill still attracts widespread and bipartisan support. In fact, about twelve states have already enacted their own versions of the bill. However, a large proportion of its support emanates from the democrats, which underlines the parties’ differences with regard to the manner in which the issue of illegal immigrants should be dealt (Jost, 2012b).

The DREAM Act provides that individuals who are below 35 years of age, have high school education, and have been of “good conduct” are offered a temporary residence status that would then allow them to join post-secondary education or the military within the first six years (Thomas, 2009). They can then apply for full citizenship status. In this case, the Bill would allow the United States to benefit from only the top-most and talented children of the illegal immigrants (Olivas, 2012). In fact, research shows that, although there are more than 3 million illegal aliens in the United States, the provisions of the bill would limit the number to only about 825,000 as these are the only ones who would meet the conditions (Thomas, 2009).

However, the DREAM Act has a bearing on the Human Rights of the illegal immigrants. This is especially with regard to the right to family unity and right to education. Undocumented alien kids are unable to pursue higher education or even join the military as such privileges are only restricted to individuals with legal citizen status(Glick & White, 2003)On the same note, undocumented aliens are always under the risk of being deported to their original countries, in which case their families are perennially under the risk of being separated (Carrasco, 2006).

While the DREAM Act is bound to be reintroduced in the Senate, its chances of going through are considerably slim. However, varied changes can be made to the bill to enhance its chances of succeeding (Willy, 2012). First, the DREAM Act should make it clear that any individual who makes false claims in his application runs the risk of imprisonment and imprisonment, unlike the current Bill where such measures are prohibited (Willy, 2012). Secondly, it should include measures such as electronic verification of an individual’s legal status for all new hires (Pérez, 2009).

Various arguments for and against the DREAM Act have been put forward. Supporters of the bill state that it if based on fairness, would enhance economic productivity and eliminates barriers standing in the way of undocumented youths (Jost, 2012). Opponents, however, see it as amnesty for aliens, a reward for breaking the law, not to mention that it is vulnerable to fraud (Jost, 2012).


Carrasco, S (2006). The D.r.e.a.m. Act, Is It Just a Dream?: Latino Challenges in Public Policy. San Francisco: San Francisco State University

Glick, J.E & White, M.J (2003) “The Academic Trajectories of Immigrant Youths: Analysis Within and Across Cohorts,” Demography 40, no. 4 (2003): 759-83;

Jost, K (2012). Pro/Con: Should Congress pass the DREAM Act? CQ Researcher. Volume 22, Issue 10

Jost, K (2012b). “Immigration conflict.” CQ Researcher 22: 229-252. 9

Thomas, K (2009). “Parental Characteristics and the Schooling Progress of the Children of Immigrant and US-Born Blacks,” Demography 46, no. 3: 513-34;

Olivas, M. A. (2012). No undocumented child left behind: Plyler v. Doe and the education of undocumented schoolchildren. New York: New York University Press.

Pérez, W. (2009). We are Americans: Undocumented students pursuing the American dream. Sterling, Va: Stylus.

Willy, N (2012). DREAM Act. New York: Culp Press

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