Rep. Greg Stanton today joined fellow House Democrats to introduce a new version of the DREAM Act, the Dream and Promise Act, to create a pathway to citizenship and expand protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.
Eighteen years after the original Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act--or DREAM Act--the new bill similarly puts undocumented young people known as "Dreamers" on a pathway to citizenship. The Dream and Promise Act additionally expands protections to include immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure.
"Hundreds of thousands of hard working young people stand to benefit from this important bill," Stanton said. "When our Dreamers succeed, our communities will be stronger. We've been fighting for this for many years--today is a good day for all of us."
The bill outlines a number of initial conditions to qualify, including that the individual:
Has been continuously present in the United States for four years preceding the date of the enactment of the bill;
Was 17 years old or younger on the initial date of entry into the United States;
Has graduated from high school or obtained a GED or equivalent credential, or currently be in pursuit of a GED;
Has a clean criminal record;
Has passed a security and law enforcement background check.
The bill also includes a new provision that allows Dreamers to receive federal financial aid--an important step to making a college degree more affordable and attainable.
Arizona is home to more than 26,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients, and nearly 2,000 individuals currently protected under TPS.
Additionally, 5,300 families with mixed immigration status live in Arizona. The economic power of TPS holders in the state is also notable: Collectively, they have a spending power of more than $70 million, and they contribute $12 million in federal taxes and $8.8 million in state and local taxes per year.