Carlos Curbelo, a republican congressman from Florida, proposes a bill to give citizenship to Dreamers. More than 750,000 young unauthorized immigrants got work permits and deportation relief through the government’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program since it was created by President Barack Obama.
The program, active since 2012, targets illegal immigrants that came to the US before the age of 16. They can stay providing they enroll in high school or have a high school degree (or GED equivalent) and no serious criminal conviction. Their working permit and deportation protection lasts 2 years and is renewable.
512,000 unauthorized immigrants are due for renewal in 2017 and more could apply for the program. So far, only 78% of those potentially eligible have applied for it. The total estimated number of Dreamers is 1.1 million.
The New Dreamers Bill
Ten republican congressmen have just introduced a new legislation to allow for a path to citizenship for these people. Carlos Curbelo stressed that President Donal Trump approves the search for a solution for Dreamers. Curbelo summarizes his plan as follows:
“These are people who are contributing to our economy, working hard. Some of them want to serve in our military. Others are at colleges and universities earning degrees. These are America’s children and it is about time that we accept them and we give them that path to full American citizenship.”
The bill proposed by Curbelo and other cosponsors would grant high school graduates without a serious criminal record a conditional immigration status. They should not rely on public assistance during the time. Then, over a five-year period, they could earn a higher-education degree, serve in the military or stay employed. At the end of that period, they could apply for permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship. Enlisted military personnel could seek naturalization right away.