WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) helped pass the American Dream and Promise Act. This legislation, H.R. 6, offers a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who’ve spent much of their lives in the United States – those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
“For those who were brought here as young children, America is the only home they know – DREAMers have served in our military, paid taxes and opened up businesses in our communities,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “For years, providing certainty for DREAMers has had broad support from both Republicans and Democrats – not only because it’s the right thing to do, but it also makes economic sense. Today’s legislation takes commonsense steps to provide them with an earned path to citizenship.”
Illinois is home to 103,600 immigrants who are eligible for protection under the Dream and Promise Act. Together, they contribute $759,600,000 in federal taxes and $547,900,000 in state and local taxes each year. Additionally, these households generate $3,292,900,000 in spending power.
This legislation establishes a process for eligible DREAMers to be granted conditional lawful permanent resident (LPR) status for 10 years if they:
- Have been continuously physically present in the U.S. for four years preceding the date of the enactment of the bill;
- Were under 18 years old on the initial date of entry into the U.S.;
- Are not inadmissible on national security or criminal grounds (see section on national security and criminal bars below);
- Graduate from high school, obtain a GED or industry-recognized credential; or are in a program assisting students to obtain a high school diploma, GED or equivalent exam, or are in an apprenticeship program.
- Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee.
Then, to gain full lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, DREAMers must:
- Acquire a degree from a U.S. institution of higher education; or complete at least two years in good standing in a bachelor’s or higher degree program or in an area career and technical education program at a post-secondary level in the U.S.; or
- Complete at least two years of military service, and if discharged, received an honorable discharge; or
- Be employed for periods of time totaling at least three years and at least 75 percent of the time the person having had employment authorization.
A DREAMer who has obtained full lawful permanent resident (LPR) status must then wait another five years before applying for citizenship.