Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World welcomes introduction of the bipartisan DREAM Act of 2017. The bill, introduced by U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), would offer a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrant youth – also known as “Dreamers” – who were brought to the United States as children.
“We thank Senators Graham and Durbin for introducing this common-sense bill,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “The DREAM Act is needed to protect young people, who were brought to this country illegally through no fault of their own, from the threat of deportation.”
The DREAM Act stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors.
Under this version of the bill, young people who came to the U.S. at age 17 or younger could earn lawful permanent residency if they graduate from high school or its equivalent, and pass a background check. The person must also have attended college, served in the military, or worked legally in the U.S., speak English and demonstrate a knowledge of U.S. history. In addition to paying a fee, the bill requires them to prove they have been in the country for four years.
The legislation would grant Dreamers permanent legal status and put them on the path to citizenship. Currently, Dreamers are protected from deportation under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“Dreamers are going to school, bravely serving in our military, and making significant contributions to the economy. They are buying cars and homes, starting businesses, creating jobs, and paying taxes,” Beckmann said. “There is no doubt that they are Americans both in heart and mind, and they should be afforded the ability to become citizens.”
Bread supports immigration reform and the DREAM Act because a substantial percentage of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. live in hunger and poverty.