Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced a new version of the DREAM Act on Thursday that would grant amnesty and work permits to approximately 2 million illegal aliens. The bill would impact many of the illegal aliens who received Pres. Obama's unconstitutional DACA executive amnesty that could face a court challenge from several states in September unless the program is ended by Pres. Trump before then.
The actual text of the bill has yet to be released, but according to section-by-section analysis posted on Sen. Durbin's website, the Graham-Durbin DREAM Amnesty is similar to past versions of the legislation that were voted down by Congresses but with a few noticeable changes.
First, it shortens the requirement that illegal aliens must have be continuously present in the U.S. from 5 years to 4 years. Second, it mirrors the DACA executive amnesty by excluding any illegal alien who has been convicted of three or more misdemeanor crimes as long as the charges occurred on different days or for one or more felony offenses; prior versions of the DREAM Act allowed any illegal alien who was of "good moral character" to receive the amnesty. Third, it expands eligibility beyond those who attend school or serve in the military. The measure allows illegal aliens who worked in the U.S. for three years to qualify. Forth, it repeals a 1996 law banning state from offering illegal aliens lower in-state tuition rates unless all students nationwide are eligible as well. Lastly, there doesn't appear to be a maximum age limit (prior versions only applied to illegal aliens under the age of 35) or end date after which no further illegal aliens will qualify.
"I first introduced the Dream Act 16 years ago and I’ll continue fighting until it becomes the law of the land," Sen. Durbin said. "I thank Senator Graham for partnering with me in this bipartisan effort."
While the DREAM Act is not new for Sen. Durbin, it is uncharted waters for Sen. Graham. Sen. Graham has voted against the DREAM Act each time it came to the Senate floor and called the DACA executive amnesty "unconstitutional" in Dec. 2016.
"These young people have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here," said Graham. "There is support across the country for allowing Dreamers -- who have records of achievement -- to stay, work, and reach their full potential."
For more on the DREAM Act, see Sen. Durbin's website.
Updated: Fri, Aug 4th 2017 @ 7:55am EDT