Lawmakers Propose ‘Dream Act,’ Amnesty for 1.9 Million Illegal Immigrants

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Two senators have introduced the Dream Act of 2023 seeking to provide legal status to illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States as children—a move that would provide lawful permanent residence to almost 2 million people.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, have introduced the same legislation in the last three sessions of Congress, but it failed each time.

In June 2012, the Obama administration implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which seeks to protect “Dreamers,” illegal immigrants who came to America when they were children. The Dream Act of 2023 would allow roughly 1.9 million people to receive legal status to live and work in the United States.

This number includes about 600,000 current DACA applicants. Graham suggested that strict immigration reforms must be implemented for the Dream Act to become a reality.

“While I continue to support relief for Dreamers, I hope my Democratic colleagues understand we must repair a broken border and address a tsunami of illegal immigration before that is remotely possible,” Graham said in a statement Friday.

“The Dreamers represent a class of illegal immigrants that have much public support because they were minors brought here by their parents and America has become their home,” Graham said. “To provide relief to this population, we must first convince Americans that the unending wave of illegal immigration will stop.”

More Immigrants, Billions in Costs

Though the Dream Act is estimated to affect 1.9 million people, the actual number could end up being much higher. This is because newly naturalized American citizens are allowed to sponsor foreign relatives, allowing them to migrate to the United States.

According to a 2014 study published in the National Library of Medicine, every 100 initiating immigrants admitted into the United States between 1981 and 1985 sponsored an average of 260 family members. This figure jumped to 345 family members between 1996 and 2000.

By Naveen Athrappully

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