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GOP senators propose conservative alternative to Dream Act

From L-R, Tillis, Lankford, Hatch. Photo: Screengrab via CSPAN

GOP Sens. Thom Tillis and James Lankford, joined by Sen. Orrin Hatch, announced the Succeed Act, a conservative alternative to the Dream Act that would give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship with a host of Republican-friendly restrictions.

Why it matters: President Trump has expressed a desire to allow Dreamers to stay in the United States, indicating to Democratic leaders Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi that he'd support the Dream Act — provided that it came packaged with increased border security measures. The Tilis-Lankford plan might give Republicans another path forward on immigration.

Lankford said Trump called him late at night to discuss his ideas on the issues, while Tillis said the "far-right and the far-left" don't seem interested in reaching a permanent solution. Hatch said he wanted to pass something that would recognize the "positive contributions" Dreamers were making in U.S. society.

The model:

  • Eligibility would be extended to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. under the age of 16 and have been in the country since DACA's inception in June 2012.
  • Young immigrants need to pass a criminal background check and receive a high school diploma, and pay off any back taxes in order to gain "conditional permanent residence," a status they'll have to maintain for 10 years via a college education, steady employment, or military service before they can obtain a green card.
  • Once the young immigrants get a green card, they can apply for citizenship after 5 years.

The big restriction: Young immigrants wouldn't be able to sponsor their parents or family members for permanent residency until they became citizens, essentially creating a 15-year window to prevent "chain migration."

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