What is the DREAM Act?

Story highlights

  • The agreement would be a win for Democrats
  • The bill has been around for years, but was reintroduced this summer

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump and congressional Democratic leaders discussed Wednesday night pairing the "DREAM Act" with border security as part of an overall immigration deal, according to a source briefed on their dinner.

Passing the DREAM Act would be a win for Democrats, who have insisted the bipartisan bill be the basis for any compromise to protect recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA.
The bill has been around for years, but was reintroduced this year by South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.
    It would grant a conditional green card to all current DACA recipients, unless they have voided the terms of their permits, and create a system for similar young undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children to also obtain conditional green cards.
    Eventually, if the requirements of the bill are met, those individuals could apply for permanent residency and potentially citizenship.
    The bill would apply to undocumented immigrants brought to the US when they were under the age of 18, who have lived continuously in the US for four years prior to the bill being passed, who have no serious criminal record other than immigration violations and have earned a high school diploma or equivalent or are enrolled in school. The immigrants would need to pass a background check and maintain their clean record.
    Down the road, if the individuals met more requirements, they could try to achieve citizenship. To lose the conditional status of their green card, the so-called "Dreamers" that would be protected under the law would need to continue living in the US and achieve a higher education degree, have completed at least two years of a higher degree program, serve in the military honorably for at least two years or had continuous employment for more than three years. The immigrants would also need to pass other existing citizenship requirements, including English language requirements in the law.
    The DREAM Act is not the only proposal out there to put DACA -- which was put into place under President Barack Obama by executive action -- into law.
    One Republican-only proposal comes from Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, and currently has more than 30 Republican co-sponsors in the House. The Recognizing America's Children Act is similar to Dream, but sets a lower age for arriving to the US -- at under 16 -- and sets up two five-year periods for conditional status.