They would qualify for conditional permanent resident status when they are accepted to college, graduate from high school or earn a GED.
They would not qualify if they had committed crimes, or, vaguely enough, were a security risk or “inadmissible on certain other grounds.”
The conditional permanent resident status would last for six years. During that time they must maintain good moral character, avoid lengthy trips abroad and do one of the following: graduate from a two-year or vocational college or study at least two years toward a higher degree; serve in the military for at least two years; or perform at least 910 hours of volunteer community service.
So instead of having a limited future based on a decision to immigrate that wasn’t their own, they can have a real future based on their hard work and continued responsibility.
These are people who were raised in this country and have friends and contacts here.
I was surprised with a different viewpoint of the act when I was talking to OCC student Fernando Hernandez about the issue.
Hernandez’s family gained citizenship the hard way, through paperwork. Well, his dad had it a bit easier: He received amnesty. After that he applied for citizenship for his family. It took 15 years and plenty of lawyers and paperwork, but they have their citizenship now.
Partly because of his experience and partly because he considers the treatment of immigrants to be a humanitarian issue, the 22-year-old said he supports the DREAM Act but question’s the author’s motivation because one of the paths to citizenship is to join the military.
“It’s just a way to increase the ranks in the military,” he said.
The option to do volunteer work might alleviate some of that concern.
Ultimately Hernandez agrees that the act is positive for the community.