Sen Lankford's DREAM Act Solution
In late September, Senators James Lankford of Oklahoma, Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Orrin Hatch of Utah introduced the Succeed Act to address DACA recipients’ pathways to citizenship. The SUCCEED Act, or Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers Employment Education and Defending our Nation, is an alternative to the DREAM Act. The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act is a legislative proposal for qualifying minors in the U.S. that would grant conditional residency, leading to permanent residency. The Act was first introduced in 2001, failing to pass then and with each reintroduction. The act is back on the table following the end of DACA. Read more about the DREAM Act's impact on Oklahoma City youth in this feature.
According to a statement by Lankford’s office, the Succeed Act does not hold undocumented children brought to the United States legally accountable for their actions, but it does discourage future illegal immigration. Both the Succeed and Dream acts offer conditional permanent residency (CPR) statuses for undocumented youth who meet eligibility requirements.
Under the Succeed Act, individuals can renew their CPR status after five years, and after 10 years of holding CPR status are eligible for lawful permanent status, or a green card. After an additional 5 years, green card holders can apply for naturalization. Critics oppose the Succeed Act’s prevention of the parents of undocumented children from receiving benefits or allowing those children to petition for citizenship for their parents, as well as the voluntary deportation order that must be signed.
Here’s a breakdown of the two acts:
- Under the SUCCEED Act, a 16-year-old undocumented youth would be eligible for U.S. citizenship at age 31
- Primarily supported by Republicans
- Immigrant youth would sign a voluntary deportation order subjecting them to removal if they fail to meet requirements
- Eligibility requirements: arrived before the age of 16 and to the United States before June 15, 2007; display good moral character
- Recipients must earn a high school diploma or GED or be enrolled in higher education and earn a bachelor’s, associate’s or vocational degree, or be employed for four years, or serve in the US Armed Forces for three years
- Under the DREAM Act, a 16-year-old undocumented youth would be eligible for U.S. citizenship at age 29
- Bipartisan support
- Provides a hardship exception for those who are unable to fill education, employment or military requirements
- Eligibility requirements: arrived before the age of 18 and no less than 4 years before enactment; display good moral character
- Recipients must earn a high school diploma or GED or be enrolled in higher education and earn a bachelor’s, associate’s or vocational degree, or be employed for 3 years, or serve in the US Armed Forces for two years
Resources: United We Dream, a nationwide network advocating for the dignity and fair treatment of immigrant youth and families, and the office of Senator James Lankford.