December 7, 2023

Protesters hold illuminated signs during a rally supporting the DACA or the Dream Act outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on January 18, 2018.

Zach Gibson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., And Lindsey Graham, RS.C., unveiled the latest version of the Dream Act Thursday, which is part of a new push to reform immigration.

The proposed legislation, first introduced in 2001, would give some young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children the opportunity to pursue an avenue of American citizenship.

The reintroduction comes as President Joe Biden begins rolling out his immigration reform agenda, aiming to reverse many of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

In 2012, President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action on the Arrivals of Children program after the Dream Bill was not passed in Congress on several occasions.

DACA protects young undocumented immigrants who would be affected by the dream law from deportation. Politics does not offer a route to citizenship.

Trump tried to end the DACA during his presidency, but the Supreme Court blocked his administration’s attempt in June. On January 20, Biden signed an ordinance to maintain the DACA.

“It is clear that only laws passed by Congress can give dreamers the chance to earn their way to American citizenship,” Durbin said in a statement Thursday.

The Dream Act would give some young undocumented immigrants legal permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they meet certain criteria, including completing high school or earning a GED. Higher education, work, or military service; and passing background checks.

The 2021 Dream Act is identical to the versions Durbin and Graham introduced in the last two sessions of Congress, the Senators say.

Graham said in a statement Thursday that he would like to pass the Dream Bill as part of a comprehensive immigration package rather than as a standalone bill.

“I believe it will be a starting point for us to find bipartisan breakthroughs that will bring relief to dreamers and also fix a broken immigration system,” said Graham.

In the last 15 years, Congress has not passed a comprehensive immigration law.

According to a survey by the June Pew Research Center, about three-quarters of Americans support the granting of permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.