KIDS Act in the House of Representatives
Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives are currently drafting a dream act bill called the KIDS Act.It would provide legal status to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children, also known as dreamers.
The KIDS Act announcement came last week but no details have been released yet.
Though not expected to be like the Dream Act the House Democrats passed in 2010, the KIDS Act will probably include most of the same rules. Dreamers would most likely get legal status if they:
- Came to the U.S. before age 16
- Lived in U.S. for at least five years
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Can demonstrate “good moral character”
Children who were brought to the U.S. as children suffer greatly from being undocumented: they can’t get the jobs they want, can’t apply for driver’s licenses and can’t receive assistance for college tuition.
Not being old enough to make decisions on their own, supporters of dream act legislation believe these undocumented immigrantsshould not be punished for breaking the law and should instead have access to legal status.
The Deferred Action (DACA) program lets recipients remain in the U.S. without having to face deportation for a period of two years. Recipients are granted a work authorization and may apply for a driver’s license.But DACA does not give legal status.
DACA has been in place since August of 2012. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received over 500,000 applications thus far. Only about 20,000 applications have been rejected.
Early estimates stated there were about 2 million childhood arrivals that would be eligible. Some confusion still lingers over exactly what type of immigration status is granted to DACA recipients, and that may be holding people back.
In January, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) clarified that even though DACA does not give legal status, recipients are considered to belawfully present.