Four Proposals to Replace DACA
What Are the Four Proposals to Replace DACA Now Before Congress?
At least 800,000 “dreamers” who came to this country under the age of 16 have, under the umbrella of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), had some protection against deportation; some even had a path to citizenship. Since the new administration came to power, however, as many of 1,000 of these people may daily begin losing their safety net when their permits expire 2 years after March 6, 2018. Only if Congress passes a DACA replacement bill before the March 5th deadline will these “dreamers” be allowed to remain in the United States legally. If you are a dreamer, or are connected to someone who is, you should carefully study these proposals.
Since California is home to more than a quarter of the national dreamers, a significant proportion of Californians will be affected, directly or indirectly, by the acts being proposed to replace DACA. You, or a member of your family, may well be one of them. Once you look over the proposed bills sponsored by various members of Congress, you should consult with a strong California immigration attorney who will be able to assist you with immigrations issues as they arise in your life or in the lives of people you love. Below are the four acts that have been proposed for consideration to replace DACA. It is very important to understand the differences between them and which will best serve your best interests so you can support the politicians who will support your well-being.
RAC, or Recognizing America’s Children, Act, like DACA, requires that eligible applicants arrived in the U.S. at the age of 16 years or younger and have resided here since January 1, 2012. They must either have a high school diploma, be enrolled in school, have a valid work authorization, be enlisted in the military. In addition, each applicant must pass a background check.
RAC does provide a 10-year pathway to citizenship during which time the applicant must live in the U.S. for 5 years as a conditional permanent resident, and spend 5 more years as the holder of a green card. Under the RAC bill, recipients would be allowed to travel outside of the country immediately, an action not permitted under DACA.
The BRIDGE, or Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy, Act has distinct differences from the RAC Act, the most significant of which is that the BRIDGE Act does not provide a pathway to citizenship. Successful applicants are given a 3-year visa that must be renewed by Congress and are not allowed to travel outside the U.S. during the 3-year visa period. In addition, applicants must have entered this country before the age of 16, resided here continuously since June 15, 2007, and either be in high school, have a high school diploma or a GED. Those honorably discharged from the U.S. armed forces are also eligible. In order to apply for BRIDGE, applicants must not have committed three or more misdemeanors.
The SUCCEED, or Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Education, Defending our nation, Act, provides the longest pathway to citizenship of the four proposals. According to its stipulations, applicants would have to reside in the U.S. for 15 years, 10 years as a conditional permanent resident and 5 years as the holder of a green card, to be able to apply for citizenship. Their international travel, however, would not be restricted.
In order to be eligible for the SUCCEED Act, applicants have to have entered the U.S. before the age of 16, been younger than 31 on June 15, 2012, and have lived continuously in the U.S. since January 1 of that year. As with the other proposals, the SUCCEED Act requires that applicants have earned a high school diploma, passed a GED, or be enrolled in higher education. Those who have served, or are enlisted in, the U.S. armed forces are also eligible.
The Clean Dream Act
The Clean Dream Act is unique among the four proposed pieces of legislation in several ways:
First, it is the only one of the proposals that has been introduced into both Houses of Congress. Originally introduced unsuccessfully in 2010, the document has now been revised into The Clean Dream Act. This past year, 2017, it was introduced into the Senate on July 20th and into the House on June 26th.
Second, it raises the age of entry into the United States to 18 years and requires that applicants have lived in the U.S. for only four years prior to the bill’s enactment. Furthermore, there is no date associated with the age requirement. A high school diploma, GED, or enrollment in a higher education program remains necessary for eligibility.
Third, the path to citizenship is much shorter with the Clean Dream Act than with any of the other suggested pieces of legislation. Applicants who have lived only 5 years as legal permanent residents of the U.S., and who meet the other necessary criteria, are allowed to apply for citizenship. It should be noted that The Clean Dream Act has the most support of the four proposals (211 sponsors at last count), but that these supporters are heavily Democratic — only nine Republicans support the Clean Dream Act at this time. Once you have examined these four proposals, you will be better prepared to discuss your own personal immigration issues with a knowledgeable, compassionate immigration attorney.
Posted in: Immigration Law