News, issues and viewpoints from the U.S.-Mexico border
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
9 FAQs about the DREAM Act
Does the DREAM Act use taxpayer dollars for scholarships and grants to undocumented students?
No. Undocumented youth adjusting to lawful permanent resident status are only eligible for federal student loans (which must be paid back) and federal work-study programs. They must work for any benefit they receive. They're not eligible for federal grants, such as Pell Grants.
Does the DREAM Act allow undocumented students to pay cheaper tuition than citizens?
No. The DREAM Act lets states offer in-state tuition to students registered under DREAM, but it does NOT guarantee cheaper tuition. At most, the DREAM Act allows undocumented students to access the same benefits as their peers.
Does the DREAM Act give undocumented students and their families access to public benefits?
No, the DREAM Act is not an amnesty. To legalize, individuals have to meet stringent eligibility criteria. They
entered the United States before age 16;
have been here for five years or more;
not have committed any major crimes;
graduate from high school or the equivalent; and
complete at least two years of college or military service.
Will the DREAM Act will spur more illegal immigration by rewarding undocumented youth?
No. The DREAM Act has clear cut-off dates, so it offers no incentives for more illegal immigration. [Economic conditions have far more impact on illegal immigration than specific pieces of legislation.]
I heard that the DREAM Act isn’t just for students, but will benefit people of all ages. Is that true?
Fact: Because the U.S. has failed to address the question of illegal immigration for over a decade, an entire generation of young people’s skills and contributions is at risk. Consequently, the DREAM Act encourages immigrants 35 or younger to attend college or join the military, but they must still have entered the U.S. before they were 16 AND have been here for five years immediately preceding the date of enactment.
Some say the DREAM Act legalizes criminals and gang members and lets people who have already been ordered deported avoid the law. Is that true?
No. Immigrants convicted of serious crimes are ineligible for DREAM Act status.
But does the DREAM Act let students cut in line in front of other lawful immigrants?
No.DREAM Act students don't compete for visas with other applicants for legal permanent residence. The DREAM Act creates a separate program for students, requiring them to earn legal permanent residence by attending college or serving in the military for two years while in a temporary legal status. DREAM won't affect the number of visas available or the time it takes to get a visa for those entering through traditional channels.
Will the DREAM Act diminish opportunities for U.S.-citizen students?
According to the National Immigration Law Center:
Most undocumented students are likely to have zero impact on admission rates of native born students: Since 2001, 10 states have made it easier for undocumented state residents to attend college by offering in-state tuition to those that qualify. Many of the students that utilized this opportunity attended community colleges, which have open enrollment. The small numbers of students who will attend 4-year universities aren't significant enough to affect the opportunities of others.