Republican Alternative to the DREAM Act is rejected by young undocumented immigrants

Republican Alternative to the DREAM Act is rejected by young undocumented immigrants

Republican Alternative to the DREAM Act is rejected by young undocumented immigrants

US President Obama’s resounding promise to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority in his second term has sparked the presentation of a proposed similar bill by the Republican senators this Tuesday, 27th November.

The DREAM Act, introduced by Obama as a bipartisan bill in his first term of presidency, was a policy intended to provide legal status and a route to settlement for undocumented youth who entered the United States as children.

The Republican response to immigration reform, called the Achieve Act, has been criticised by both The Congressional Hispanic Caucus and DREAMers themselves due to the fact that it does not provide a path to citizenship for young people bought to the USA illegally.

Retiring Republican senators Jon Kyl and Kay Bailey Hutchison presented the Achieve Act on Tuesday, saying that it would ‘provide a basis for compromise on the status of children brought to this country illegally’.

The Achieve Act proposal would introduce a special visa system for undocumented young people who wish to pursue education in the form of a technical or university degree, or serve in the US military. Despite this, The Achieve Act confers no route to permanent residency or US citizenship.

Young undocumented individuals commenting on the Achieve Act have expressed their thoughts that it is a ‘watered down’ alternative to the DREAM Act, voicing observations that the bill ‘does not make sense’ for Republicans considering the evidence provided by the elections, which showed that both the Latino community and a large portion of US citizens support the DREAM Act.

The Achieve Act also has a stricter set of qualifying requirements to its Democratic counterpart: applicants must have entered the country before the age of 14, and lived in the United States for at least five years. Subsequently, qualifying members of the Achieve Act are offered one of three types of visa; a work visa valid for four years, a student visa for six years or a permanent non-immigrant visa to be renewed every five years.

Although this is a visible step in pandering to the USA’s prominent Latino and non-US demographic, along with those who support the full implementation of immigration reform, chairwoman of the Arizona DREAM Act Coalition, Dulce Matuz, feels that the Achieve Act ‘does not fully accept and integrate DREAMers into society’, and notably ‘does not provide them with a pathway to citizenship’.

Related Stories:

Latest News: