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American Dream and Promise Act of 2021: Who Is Potentially Eligible?
The American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 3, 2021 could make a maximum of 4,438,000 DREAMers, individuals eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), and legal DREAMers eligible for permanent residence, according to Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates. For more on other unauthorized immigrant populations that are the subject of legalization discussions, see Back on the Table: U.S. Legalization and the Unauthorized Immigrant Groups that Could Factor in the Debate.
Estimates are provided as follows:
(1) DREAMers: The data modeled here cover various aspects for the unauthorized immigrants who entered the United States before age 19: (a) The 3,910,000 who meet the age at entry threshold; (b) the subset of 2,763,000 who meet the educational requirements to qualify for conditional permanent resident status; and (c) the 2,310,000 who are likely to progress from conditional permanent residence to legal permanent residence (aka a green card) by earning a postsecondary degree or completing at least two years towards a bachelor's degree, serving in the military for at least two years, or being employed for at least three years. The 1,147,000 DREAMers within the 3,910,000 who do not meet the educational requirements for conditional permanent residence could become eligible in the future if they enroll in school.
(2) Those who meet the criteria to apply for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED): This group, which would be immediately eligible for a green card, excludes people who would qualify for conditional permanent status as DREAMers.
(3) Legal DREAMers: This group refers to children who arrived in the United States before age 19, are currently under age 21, and have a parent who entered on an H-1B, L, E-1, or E-2 nonimmigrant visa. This population will age out of legal status once they turn 21 because they can no longer be considered a derivative beneficiary under the parent’s visa. Although the bill would allow for some legal DREAMers to apply even if they have left the United States or changed status to a different nonimmigrant visa, such as an F student visa, this population could not be modeled and so the numbers offered here are just for those in the United States and on a dependent visa. The researchers assumed that all legal DREAMers would qualify for conditional permanent status. Legal DREAMers who turned age 21 and overstayed their visas as family members of H-1B, L, E-1, or E-2 nonimmigrant visa holders are included in the DREAMer population, according to the Migration Policy Institute’s methodology of assigning legal status to noncitizens.
Note: Eligibility due to adult-education program enrollment and ineligibility due to criminal history or lack of continuous U.S. presence were not modeled due to limitations in U.S. Census Bureau data.
Sources: These 2018 data are from Migration Policy Institute (MPI) modeling of provisions from the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, H.R. 6, reintroduced on March 3, 2021, https://roybal-allard.house.gov/uploadedfiles/dream_xml.pdf, drawing from MPI’s analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s pooled 2014–2018 American Community Survey and the 2008 Survey of Income and Program Participation, weighted to 2018 unauthorized immigrant population estimates provided by Jennifer Van Hook of The Pennsylvania State University. For more on MPI’s methodology, visit: bit.ly/MPILegalStatusMethods. Estimates of Venezuelan DED holders were modeled using these same data to estimate the size of the unauthorized and nonimmigrant Venezuelan populations as of 2018, with the addition of Venezuelan nonimmigrant admissions after 2018 taken from U.S. Department of State (DOS) data, “Report of the Visa Office, FY1997-2020 NIV Detail Table” and accounting for emigration and interior removals of Venezuelans by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.