The Center for American Progress and the Partnership for a New American Economy released a joint study which found that up to 223,000 of the 2.1 million young undocumented immigrants eligible for the DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act would have an easier time enrolling, paying for and finishing college, which would in turn lead to increased economic gains for the United States. The report concludes that if undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children were given legal status, their improved access to college and better jobs would add $329 billion and 1.4 million jobs to the nation’s economy over the next 20 years.
The report provides an argument in favor of the DREAM Act, which would grant legal residency to illegal immigrants, brought to the country as children and have completed or are in enrolled in high school or served in the military. When the DREAM Act was first introduced in 2001, it was a bipartisan effort sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. It has since become more one sided. The House of Representatives passed it in 2010 with minimal GOP support, and it failed in the Senate when only three Republicans voted for it.
President Barack Obama has supported the bill and used his executive authority to give some relief to DREAMers. He created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that does not grant legal residency or U.S. citizenship but gives young undocumented immigrants protection from deportation and work permits for two years.