The bipartisan duo of lawmakers say it’s important to offer Dreamers the opportunity to make their legal status permanent.
A bipartisan pair of United States senators have reintroduced legislations that would protect the legal status of immigrant “Dreamers” and offer them a path to citizenship.
CNBC reports that the proposal—first put forwarded during the Bush administration—has been brought back to talks by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC).
If passed in its current form, the latest iteration of the Dream Act would give many young, undocumented adults the opportunity to pursue U.S. citizenship. At present, Dreamers have to meet certain criteria to claim and maintain legal status—among other requirements, they must have attained a certain level of education, be able to clear a criminal background check, and show they brought to the United States as children.
Some exceptions for Dreamers exist—for instance, Dreamers who may have not have attained the requisite level of education but who served in the United States armed forces can still apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).
DACA provides all accepted recipients with temporary, renewable residence and work permits.
President Donald Trump attempted to end DACA by executive action in September 2017, but court orders and injunctions compelled the United States government to continue protected the legal status of Dreamers.
At present, however, DACA does not provide any path toward citizenship.
“It is clear that only legislation passed by Congress can give Dreamers the chance to earn their way to American citizenship,” Sen. Durbin said in a Thursday statement.
And Graham, says CNBC, has signaled that he does not want to pass a path to citizenship as stand-alone legislation—he would rather it be part of a broader package aimed at immigration reform. Whether Graham’s vision of the policy would include further restrictions on incoming migrants is unclear.
Nevertheless, Graham did say he would like to see Dreamers have the opportunity to realize the ambition of many to become naturalized citizens.
“I believe it will be a starting point for us to find bipartisan breakthroughs providing relief to the Dreamers and also repairing a broken immigration system,” Graham said.
The Christian Science Monitor observes that many Dreamers and DACA recipients were brought to the United States at such a young age they did not realize they were undocumented until they applied for college programs, summer jobs, or university degrees.
CNBC notes that Congress has not passed any comprehensive immigration package in the last 15 years.