The House of Representatives passes the Dream and Promise Act of 2021

The House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act. This legislation would grant Dreamers conditional permanent resident status for 10 years, and cancel removal proceedings if they:

  • have been continuously physically present in the U.S. on or before January 1, 2021;
  • were 18 years old or younger on the initial date of entry into the U.S.;
  • are not inadmissible on the following grounds: criminal, security and terrorism, smuggling, student visa abuse, ineligibility for citizenship, polygamy, international child abduction, unlawful voting, or former citizens who renounced citizenship to avoid taxation, and have not participated in persecution;
  • other than a state offense for which an essential element is the person’s immigration status or a minor traffic violation, have not been convicted of (i) any federal or state offense punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year; (ii) 3 or more federal or state offenses for which the person was convicted on different dates and imprisoned for an aggregate of 90 days or more; (iii) a crime of domestic violence (unless the applicant is a victim themselves of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, child abuse or neglect, elder abuse or neglect, or human trafficking, having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty, or having been a victim of criminal activity);
  • graduate from high school, obtain a GED or industry recognized credential, or are in a program assisting students in obtaining a high school diploma, GED or equivalent exam, or in an apprenticeship program;
  • pass security and law enforcement background checks, pay a reasonable application fee and register for the Selective Service if required.
  • Additionally, children of certain temporary workers who arrived in the U.S. at the age of 18 or younger and were continuously present in the U.S. since January 1, 2021 are also eligible for relief.

In order to gain full lawful permanent resident status, Dreamers must

  • acquire a degree from a U.S. institution of higher education; or complete at least 2 years in good standing in a bachelor’s or higher degree program or in an area career and technical education program at a post-secondary level in the U.S.; or
  • complete at least 2 years of military service, and if discharged, received an honorable discharge; or
  • be employed for periods of time totaling at least 3 years and at least 75% of the time that the person has had employment authorization.

The Dream and Promise Act would grant individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) LPR status and cancel removal proceedings if they:

  • have been in the U.S. for a period of 3 years before the Act’s enactment; and
  • were eligible or had TPS on September 17, 2017 or had DED status as of January 20, 2021.

This legislation sets forth a number of other provisions that protect Dreamers and individuals with TPS or DED during their application for relief.