What Can Congress Do to Save DACA?
On Sept. 5, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began the process of ending the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Now it is up to Congress to pass a bill and provide a solution to protect the roughly 800,000 “DREAMers” who came to the U.S. as children.
For any bill to be passed, the bill must be passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate. After the bill passes both houses of Congress, the President can either sign the bill into law or veto (reject) it.
There are several bills pending in the legislature that could help DREAMers. Below, we’ve provided a list and some information about each. Please keep in mind, none of these bills have been passed and become law yet, but we’re hopeful Congress will act soon.
Dream Act, sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
The process proposed in the The Dream Act of 2017, is similar to what DACA requires. Additionally, it creates a path for legal permanent residence (a green card) and eventually citizenship, if applicants meet certain requirements.
To receive a green card in the proposed Dream Act, an applicant must have lived in the U.S. for a certain length of time and meet certain requirements about education, work, or military service. It would take at least 13 years for those eligible to achieve citizenship.
Recognizing America’s Children Act, sponsored by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.
The requirements in this bill are similar to the Dream Act. A person must have lived in the U.S. for a certain length of time and, depending on the immigrant’s age, meet requirements like education or work.
This plan gives DREAMers three paths toward legal immigration status:
- Higher education
- Service in the armed forces
- Work authorization
After a 5-year conditional status and a 5-year permanent status, DREAMers can apply for citizenship.
The American Hope Act, sponsored by Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.
To be eligible, immigrants must have entered the U.S. before age 18. The bill does not have any work, education, or military requirements, but it prevents people who have been convicted of certain crimes from applying for status.
This bill also creates the fastest path to citizenship. First, people can apply for conditional permanent residency that lasts for up to eight years. But, after three years people can apply for lawful permanent residence status. Then, two years later, after a total of five years, immigrants can apply for U.S. citizenship.
BRIDGE Act, sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo.
The BRIDGE Act was proposed in January and would make the current DACA program permanent under the law and extend it from two years to three years. However, it does not include a path to citizenship.
It’s unclear if Congress will act quickly to protect DREAMers and other immigrants affected by the wind-down of the DACA program. If you’re eligible to submit your DACA renewal application, do not delay. Mail your application ASAP.
Through our easy-to-use software, you can accurately prepare your DACA renewal application. And if you get stuck along the way, have a question, or want to connect with one of our network-partner attorneys – for an affordable consultation or review of your application – we’re here for you!
Road to Status exists to help ease the immigration application process because immigration forms and fees can be complicated even for the most straightforward of situations. When times are difficult, as they are now, we want to help get as many people who are eligible for immigration benefits on the path to getting those benefits.
USCIS currently shows that from August through December 2017, over 200,000 individuals are set to have their DACA/EADs expire. Of these individuals, 55,000+ have already submitted requests for renewal of their DACA to USCIS.
Is your DACA one of those that needs to be renewed? Click here, we’re here to help!