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Latino Daily News

Thursday December 2, 2010

4th and Current Version of DREAM Act Narrows Eligibility

The fourth and current version of the DREAM Act (S. 3992) was submitted on Monday, and has many wondering how this latest version (created in an attempt to persuade Republican legislators to vote in its favor) differs from its predecessors.

One main difference is the eligibility age. The previous bill had the age of those that could benefit set at 35, but S. 3992 lowers the age to 30, meaning that if a person brought to this country as a child meets all other requirements, they have until they are (now) 30 to begin the legal process to citizenship.

S. 3992 also requires a 10-year waiting period (originally six) during which the youth would be classified as “conditional non-immigrants” before being granted permanent residency. Once that waiting period has passed without incident and a green card is obtained, more waiting begins as the person would have to wait another three years before they are eligible for citizenship.

Another change is the ineligibility of ANY undocumented youth who’s ever been convicted of any crime that carried a maximum one-year prison sentence. Previous versions of the DREAM Act stated the “good moral character” requirement to take effect ONLY back to the date of the DREAM Act’s enactment, but S. 3992 says “good moral character” (code for clean criminal record) is now required for the entirety of the person’s time spent in the U.S..

The submission of biometric data is also now required, and health care benefits with not be granted to these DREAM Act youth for 10 years.

So while Republicans have forced a compromise, and the DREAM Act is, to many, appearing less like a win, it still remains just that…a win. If it passes that is.