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DREAM Act Lawyer in New York City and Queens

The DREAM Act was first introduced in 2001 as a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who entered the country as children. Although the legislation has never been enacted, it is still alive and debated today and may someday become a reality. In the meantime, a New York City immigration attorney at Orbach Rosenberg Law continues to help immigrants with their legal issues, from deportation defense and asylum to naturalization and citizenship.

What the DREAM Act would do

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) would grant lawful temporary resident status to certain individuals for a six-year period. If, during that period, a person served two years in the military, graduated from a two-year college, or completed two years of education at a four-year college, then the person could apply for status as a lawful permanent resident and eventually be eligible to become a naturalized citizen.

In its current form, the DREAM Act would apply to anyone who:

  • Arrived in the country before age 16
  • Can provide proof of residence for 5 consecutive years
  • Did not enter on a non-immigrant visa
  • Registered with Selective Service (males only)
  • Is between 12 and 35 years old when the bill is enacted
  • Has a high school diploma or GED, or was granted admission to an institute of higher education
  • Possesses good moral character

The DREAM Act actually passed the House in 2010, but it could not get the votes to stop a filibuster in the Senate. Currently, there are versions alive in both the House (H.R. 1842) and the Senate (S. 952) although they have been stalled in committee for several years since introduced in May 2011.

Higher Education Opportunities for New York DREAMers

Since 2002, New York state has offered in-state tuition rates for undocumented immigrants. The New York DREAM Act would expand that program by making such students eligible for financial aid, scholarships and participation in a state-run college savings program. A version of this bill, A.2597, actually passed the Assembly but died in the Senate. The Senate version, S.2378, is currently in the Senate Higher Education Committee.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

Hope for DREAMers was renewed in 2012 when the Obama Administration issued a memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) directing them not to initiate deportation or removal proceedings against certain individuals who entered the country illegally as minors. While deferred action does have many aspects in common with the DREAM Act, it only defers removal proceedings. It does not give illegal immigrants lawful immigration status or a way to obtain permanent residence, and it does not provide a pathway to citizenship like the DREAM Act would.

Get Help with Your Immigration Status from a Caring and Compassionate New York City Immigration Attorney

If your immigration status is in question because your nonimmigrant visa expired, you have run into problems with law enforcement, or for other reasons, you may be rightfully concerned about your ability to remain in the country. New York immigration attorney Marilyn Orbach Rosenberg can analyze your situation and provide advice and representation to help you achieve lawful resident status, avoid deportation, obtain asylum, or get other immigration benefits. Contact Orbach Rosenberg Law to speak with a caring, effective lawyer who wants to help you.

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