DACA Replacement Legislation

There are four different bills proposed in replacement of DACA:

2017 Dream Act (S. 1615 & H.R. 3440) https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1615
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3440

American Hope Act (H.R. 3591) https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3591

BRIDGE Act (H.R. 496 & S. 128) https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/496
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/128

Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act (H.R. 1468) https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1468

It’s really hard to find a ton of info comparing these four bills that is clearly laid out and comprehensible. However the National Immigration Law Center produced this table which goes point by point to show the differences between the bills. https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-reform-and-executive-actions/dreamact/daca-related-2017-legislation/

The BRIDGE Act DOES NOT offer a path to citizenship. This is a stopgap measure that would allow DACA recipients to stay in the U.S. for up to 3 years after the date the bill is passed. Further, it requires that a person has lived continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007 up until filing their application under the BRIDGE Act. If voted into law, the House and the Senate would have to actively repeal or alter the legislation in order to change the law. There is no work track option for the BRIDGE Act, so a person would either have to be enrolled in a program working towards a GED or high school diploma, have a GED or high school diploma, or have been honorably discharged from the military. They must have entered the country prior to turning 16 and they cannot have any felony charges.

The American Hope Act is another House Bill, this one offering a pathway to citizenship. If you entered the U.S. prior to December 31, 2016 and before your 18th birthday you are eligible. There are NO education, work, or military service requirements for eligibility for conditional permanent residency status. CPR status is valid for 8 years. A person can apply to be a lawful permanent resident after 3 years of CPR status, and if you’re a DACA recipient 3 years of DACA status could count towards the CPR requirement. After 5 years with LPR status — time spent in CPR status will count towards this time — a person can apply for citizenship. The path to citizenship can take as little as 2 years for DACA recipients who have been protected under DACA for the last 3 years. The American Hope Act would also repeal a provision in IIRIRA that prohibits undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition at institutions of higher education.

The 2017 Dream Act is more permissive than the 2010 DREAM Act in that the 2010 DREAM Act required a person to have entered the U.S. prior to turning 16 and the 2017 Dream Act raises that age to 18. This bill was introduced by Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Durbin and likely will have more bipartisan support than the American Hope Act. However, the 2017 Dream Act has more stringent eligibility requirements than the American Hope Act. To be eligible a person must have lived continuously in the U.S. for at least 4 years prior to the day the bill becomes law, whereas the American Hope Act requirement is currently less than 1 year. There is an education or work requirement for this bill as well. A person must meet one these requirements: have a high school diploma or GED, be enrolled in an educational program working towards a GED or high school diploma, be accepted to an institution of higher education, or have a valid work permit.

There is a pathway to citizenship under this bill, however it is a longer process compared to the American Hope Act. A person must have CPR status for 8 years prior to applying for LPR status, and their time as DACA recipients does not count towards this. Additionally, a person must meet one of the following requirements: have received a 2-year degree from an institution of higher education, have completed 2 years towards a bachelor’s degree program, have completed 2 years of military service or a dishonorable discharge, be employed for at least 3 years during the time they had CPR status. A person can apply for a “hardship” waiver if they do not meet one of these requirements. After 8 years of CPR status and 5 subsequent years of LPR status, a person can apply for citizenship. The pathway to citizenship takes 13 years. If a person has a felony charge, or is convicted of 3 or more misdemeanors on separate dates they are not eligible under the 2017 Dream Act.

The Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act is a House Bill. It does offer a path to citizenship. However, it is more stringent than both the 2017 Dream Act and the American Hope Act and has less support in the House.

Information and Resources:

2017 Dream Act FAQs https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-reform-and-executive-actions/dreamact/dream-act-2017-summary-and-faq/

Side by Side: Provisions of the 2010 and 2017 Dream Acts and DACA https://www.nilc.org/issues/immigration-reform-and-executive-actions/dreamact/dream-acts-and-daca-compared/

Lawmakers Just Introduced a Dream Act Bill. What Does It Mean for You?

https://medium.com/@UNITEDWEDREAM/lawmakers-just-introduced-a-dream-act-bill-what-does-it-means-for-you-4aa09e193b6f

The BRIDGE Act FAQs https://www.nilc.org/issues/daca/faq-bridge-act/

United We Dream Press Release on The American Hope Act https://unitedwedream.org/press-releases/the-american-hope-act-2017/

Side by Side Comparison of the 2017 Dream Act and the American Hope Act https://www.wetooareamerica.org/immi-blog/2017/8/1/dream-act-2017-vs-american-hope-act-a-side-by-side-comparison-1

One Page Summary of the American Hope Act https://gutierrez.house.gov/sites/gutierrez.house.gov/files/wysiwyg_uploaded/One%20Page%20Summary%20of%20American%20Hope%20Act%20of%202017.pdf

Summary of the American Hope Act http://immigrationforum.org/blog/american-hope-act-of-2017-bill-summary/