DREAM Act and Deferred Action

It is well-known that the President Obama’s deferred action process will defer the deportation of some undocumented immigrants. But it is mandatory to understand the difference between the DREAM Act and the deferred action policy. DREAM Act is the one which is likely to grant a permanent relief to some eligible undocumented youth and the deferred action policy will only grant a temporary relief to those DREAMers. Most of the undocumented immigrants have a notion that the deferred action process is the DREAM Act that will allow them to reside permanently in America. But it is wise to understand the difference between both.

Undocumented immigrants have been fighting for a very long period of time to obtain lawful status in the United States. Undocumented immigrants are likely to gain lawful status if the DREAM Act is passed, but that Act was not passed by the US Congress. According to the DREAM Act, undocumented immigrant youth who are likely to be deported will be granted conditional permanent resident status in the country. In order to qualify for conditional permanent residence, through the DREAM Act, the applicant must be a high school graduate and a person with good moral character. Moreover, the applicant must have got into the United States as a minor. Similarly, other requirements such as permanent residence requirement must be satisfied by the applicant.

Now, the process that has been implemented is not the DREAM Act. This is the deferred action process that will postpone the deportation of the DREAMers. They may not become eligible for any permanent lawful status in the United States, by receiving deferred action. However, deferred action applicants will be granted federal work permits and state issued driver’s licenses, if they are granted deferred action.

DREAMers who believe that they are eligible for this process must provide suitable documents to prove that they had come to the United States as minors and that they are university graduates or students. They must also prove that they were present in the country on the date of implementation of the deferred action process. Moreover, undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds may not be eligible for this process. People who receive deferred action and remain in the country for a two-year period will not be given an opportunity to become US citizens or permanent residents. But, deferred action and the work permits that they receive are renewable, where they can file applications for renewal at the end of the two-year period.

Many DREAMers still think that the deferred action process is the DREAM Act that will grant them legal status. By receiving deferred action, an undocumented immigrant may remain in the country legally but without any legal status. Only the DREAM Act can grant them legal status. DREAMers must remember that this process is revocable as it was announced by the president. The DREAM Act must be passed by the US Congress, to protect the eligible undocumented youth and to help them become US citizens as the deferred action process will not allow its recipients to become citizens of the country. However, deferred action process is beneficial to the undocumented youth.

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