LatinaLista — It’s called the Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Employment, Education, and Defending our Nation Act, SUCCEED, for short and the congressional members who drafted this latest version of the 2010 DREAM Act, hope it does exactly that in Congress. The bill is constructed around four pillars: Compassion, Prevention, Merit and Fairness — with a conservative twist.
The GOP authors of the bill, Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, James Lankford of Oklahoma and Orin Hatch of Utah, feel their bill is a much more GOP-friendly piece of legislation than the bipartisan attempt on earlier DREAMer bills. It just may be since it’s a bill that will only deliver that long-sought dream, known as “citizenship,” after a 15-year wait and a host of requirements to fill.
In the SUCCEED Act:
- A DREAMer must have been in the United States since June 15, 2012 and before the age of 16.
- Required to obtain a high school diploma
- Pass a “thorough” criminal background check
- Submit biometric data to the Department of Homeland Security
- Pay off any back taxes or establish a repayment plan
Complying with these requirements will give the DREAMer a “conditional permanent residence” status that must be maintained for 10 years, reviewed after 5 years to ensure compliance, after which they can apply for a formal green card.
However, while in the “conditional permanent residence” phase, the person must either earn a college degree, serve in the military for at least three years or be consistently employed.
Once they obtain green cards, DREAMers are required to wait an additional five years until they can apply for U.S. citizenship. Until they become full-fledged citizens, DREAMers’ parents won’t be allowed to use their children’s legal status to petition to stay in the US. Yet, according to the legislation, once they become citizens, DREAMers will be able to sponsor family members.
Since most in Congress know that deporting thousands of young people who did not choose to grow up without citizenship status in a country they feel a natural birthright would be political suicide, hopes are riding high that Congress, in a bipartisan way, would pass the SUCCEED Act.
Though only revealed today, analysts are already endorsing its passage from an economic perspective.
According to the CATO Institute:
…we find that that SUCCEED will boost revenues by about $94.7 billion above expenditures, in net present value, relative to keeping the DREAMers in illegal status along with a steady rate of deportation. These extra revenues would accrue to the federal, state, and local governments.
The Niskanen Center published:
- The SUCCEED Act would increase GDP by $81 billion over 10 years
- The SUCCEED Act would increase net federal revenue by $22 billion over 10 years
- The SUCCEED Act would create 117,000 new jobs
- Under the SUCCEED Act, eligible immigrants will contribute $738 billion to gross domestic product (GDP) over a decade and $204 billion in net revenue to federal, state, and local governments
With the latest Gallup Poll showing Democrats now overtaking the GOP in public favorability ratings, a lot of hope may be hinged on the passage of the SUCCEED Act to raise the morale and public image of the GOP.
Yet, immigration advocates are already pointing out the flaws in this version to address the DREAMer dilemma.
“It excludes the oldest Dreamers—those who have lived here the longest—from the program entirely,” Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the immigrant rights America’s Voice Education Fund, said in a statement. “It makes it difficult for Dreamers to sponsor their loved ones under the legal immigration system. And it requires Dreamers to sign away future legal rights by forcing them to sign a voluntary deportation order subjecting them to automatic removal if they violate certain terms of their status.”
As a result, immigration advocates are demanding Congress pass a clean DREAM Act, no strings attached. Such a bill has a greater chance to succeed.
Featured Photo: (L-R) Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Orin Hatch of Utah announce the SUCCEED Act.