Immigration Fact Sheet: Dream Act

The DREAM Act (short for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act) was a bill that would have granted legal status to certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors; and then lived and went to school here. Key components of the proposed act were enhancing border security, providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and opening educational opportunities.

In the last few years the term “DREAMer” has been used to describe young people addressed by the Dream Act and who identify as American.

Facts You Should Know

  • The Dream Act is bi-partisan legislation first introduced in Congress in 2001. It has been re-introduced numerous times, but has failed to pass.
  • The bill’s intent was to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children who grew up in the United States.
  • Due to the failure to pass the Dream Act, the President instituted the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in 2012. This policy allowed certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 15, 2012, to receive a renewable two-year work permit as well as an exemption from deportation.
  • At least seventeen states, including Florida, have laws allowing students who meet specific requirements, regardless of their immigration status, to pay in-state tuition rates at public postsecondary institutions.
  • Rhode Island’s Board of Governors for Higher Education and the University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents also have adopted policies permitting eligible students to pay in-state tuition rates, regardless of their immigration status. The University of Michigan’s Board of Regents adopted a similar policy for its campuses.

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