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Democrats introduce updated DREAM Act

Indiana residents who follow developments in the nation's capital will likely know that a group of young people known as dreamers have become a hot-button political issue in recent years. Dreamers are undocumented young people who would be offered a path to eventual citizenship by the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. The bill was introduced in 2001 and has yet to make it to the president's desk, but this deadlock has not prevented Democrats from introducing a new version that would go even further.

If the Dream and Promise Act is signed into law, the DREAM Act's protections would be expanded to cover immigrants who have been given Temporary Protected Status or granted Deferred Enforced Departure. To obtain conditional permanent residency, immigrants would have to meet a number of requirements. These requirements include serving in the U.S. military for at least two years, working under an employment-based visa or graduating from an American technical school or college.

The Dream and Promise Act would make it easier for undocumented students to earn the degrees they need by giving them access to federal financial aid. Only 18 states and the District of Columbia make aid available to undocumented students. To encourage change in this area, the Democrat's proposed bill would repeal an immigration law provision that penalizes sates for offering this kind of financial support.

Media coverage of immigration issues has become more thorough in recent years, and proposed laws sometimes draw as much attention as actual legislation. This debate about what the law may or may not be months or years from now can make it difficult for those hoping to start a new life in America to understand what the current regulations are. Attorneys with experience in this area could explain the various paths available to achieve this goal including work or employment-based visas, residency and citizenship, and they could also help those who fear persecution or violence in their home countries to file asylum claims.

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