The DREAM Act (short for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act) was a bill in Congress that would have granted legal status to certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and went to school here. Although several versions of the bill have been introduced in Congress since 2001, it never passed. In the last few years the term “DREAMer” has been used to describe young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children, who have lived and gone to school here, and who in many cases identify as American.

After failing to get the DREAM Act passed by Congress, in 2012 Pres. Obama used an executive order to create a new policy calling for deferred action for certain undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children. The target audience for the program, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, was similar to those who would have been helped by the DREAM Act.

DACA allows certain undocumented immigrants in the United States who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. The program does not provide lawful status or a path to citizenship.

To be eligible, immigrants must have entered the United States before their 16th birthday and before June 2007, be currently in school, a high school graduate or be honorably discharged from the military, be under age 31 as of June 15, 2012, and not have been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor or three other misdemeanors, or otherwise pose a threat to national security

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