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What Is the Texas DREAM Act?

Posted on August 11, 2016 in

Immigration law is a prominent area of litigation in Texas. Texas was the very first state to adopt the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act in 2001 – a law allowing undocumented immigrant students to attend public universities at in-state tuition rates. If an undocumented student received a high school degree or GED in the state of Texas and lived in the state for at least three years, he or she can attend public school without paying out-of-state tuition.

DREAM Act Provisions

Undocumented immigrants who meet the qualifications for the DREAM Act are called DREAMers, and they must be at least 15 years old to apply. DREAMers reside in every state and can be any nationality. However, the majority of DREAMers are from Mexico, residing in the largest immigrant-receiving states with undocumented immigrants – California and Texas. Texas was one of the first states to pass the act into law, due to the high number of undocumented students facing deportation.

The DREAM Act follows a multiphase process to grant conditional residency for undocumented immigrant students. If the student meets further qualifications, he or she can eventually attain permanent U.S. residency. The DREAM Act has failed to pass as a federal law, and Texas is one of few states that embrace it today. For an undocumented student to qualify under the DREAM Act, he or she must have a conditional resident status. To achieve this status, an immigrant must:

  • Prove they entered the United States before turning 16 years old
  • Have lived in the country for five or more years
  • Be a graduate of a state high school or received a GED in the state
  • Demonstrate good moral standing
  • Pass criminal background checks

The DREAM Act enables thousands of students who have graduated from American high schools to embark on further education legally and eventually legal work. It allows students whose parents brought them to the country as undocumented immigrants the chance to stay in the country they know, instead of facing deportation to a country of which they know little. The DREAM Act is not a guaranteed safeguard against deportation, but it does significantly help students achieve a legal immigration status.

Issues Surrounding the DREAM Act

Since Texas passed the DREAM Act, 17 other states have followed suit, despite long-standing debates about it. Many lawmakers and politicians believe the act may encourage fraud, as some American-born citizens can say they are undocumented immigrants and receive in-state tuition rates. Others against the act state that the bill is an educational initiative in disguise and a way to offer citizenship to undocumented immigrants.

Prior efforts to repeal the act in Texas have all failed, and currently, no 2016 political contenders have spoken about repealing it. Understanding your rights as a legal or undocumented immigrant is important to protect yourself from unfair deportation. If you currently qualify as a DREAMer in Texas, but officers detained you without saying why, contact a deportation lawyer immediately.

An Immigration Attorneys Can Help

As an immigration law firm in the state of Texas, David A. Breston Attorney at Law and his team of lawyers are highly experienced when it comes to handling immigration and deportation cases. Immigrants need the right lawyers standing by their sides. If you need a qualified and competent group of attorneys, we’re your answer. We know all there is to know about the Texas DREAM Act and can protect you if you qualify for the act’s provisions. Contact us today for a free consultation about your situation and discover the hope that comes with following the American dream. Se habla español.