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November 17, 2006

New Estimates of Undocumented Youth Eligible for Legal Status under the DREAM Act

In October 2006, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) released a study providing new estimates of the impact passage of Dream Act legislation would have on undocumented youth in the United States. The DREAM Act, introduced as a stand-alone bill in both the House (H.R. 5131) and Senate (S. 2075), and incorporated into the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S.2611), offers undocumented youth a path to conditional legal status if they arrived in the United States before age 16, have been in the country for five continuous years, and have graduated from high school or obtained a GED. Conditional legal residents who attend college or join the military within the six years of their conditional status would then become eligible for permanent legal status.

The study, conducted by Michael Fix and Jeanne Batalova of MPI, employs a wide array of primary and secondary source material to study the impact that passage of the Dream Act would have, and concludes "enactment would immediately make 360,000 unauthorized high school graduates aged 18 to 24 eligible for conditional legal status," with about 279,000 of these individuals eventually converting from conditional to permanent legal status. Furthermore, the MPI study estimates that "about 715,000 undocumented youth between ages 5 and 17 would become eligible for conditional and then permanent legal status under the proposed legislation sometime in the future." Finally, the report adds that those in conditional legal status would have tremendous incentive to make significant, positive contributions to the United States by finishing high school (or earning a GED if the person has dropped out) and either pursuing a college education or enrolling in the military, since their conditional status expires after six years and they cannot adjust from conditional to legal status unless one of these conditions (college or the military) are met.

For more of the report's findings, please read the full text on the MPI website.

Posted by VisaLawyer at November 17, 2006 08:20 AM

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