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Implications of ACHIEVE Act on DREAMers

As I have been saying all along DREAMers should definitely get DACA approval first.  It is the only safe path for them to get some sort of lawful presence in the United Status and prevents them from being deported because if they are deported they can never take advantage of whatever amnesty Congress passes.  Unless the researchers got the estimate of eligible undocumented immigrants very wrong, it is clear that a lot of DREAMers have not yet filed their paperwork.  I hope it is not because DREAMers are planning to apply directly for DREAM Act.

Two Republican senators in an attempt to hijack the Obama Comprehensive Immigration Reform process have introduced a watered down version of the DREAM Act and are calling it the ACHIEVE Act.  While there are several differences between the two, the biggest one is that there is no path to citizenship.  In other words, people who take advantage of the three types of visas (W1, W2, and W3) will be able to live permanently in the United States if they keep meeting certain conditions but would not be able to file for naturalization.  This sort of status is common in many countries like France or Japan where even immigrants who spend their lifetime or even if they are born there can only hope for permanent residence and not citizenship.

So is the DREAM Act dead?

At this point, it is not clear what will happen to it, but experts agree that there are simply not enough votes to pass it in its current form.  That is why ACHIEVE Act may very well become the starting point for legalization of illegal immigrants who entered the country when they were minors.  I have been reading that some advocates for DREAMers are fiercely opposing ACHIEVE Act but I would caution the DREAMers not to fall in their trap of false hopes.  The immigrant advocacy groups have their own agenda and they would rather be in business forever than have this issue go away making them lose their jobs from all the donations that they receive.

I think what DREAMers have to realize is that they do not want to end up in a situation that ACHIEVE Act is also killed because DREAM Act is not revived.  In the end, DREAMers get nothing.  It is much better to get some kind of legal status than to get nothing in the hope that a longer fight will make it eventually happen.  Politics is unpredictable and in the 2014 mid-term elections, it could very well be that Democrats lose their majority in Senate too.  It is very easy to kill legislation in Congress.

I have also noticed that many DREAMer groups are literally demanding citizenship and refusing to compromise.  That only turns off Americans because there is not a lot of sympathy for lawbreakers in general.  A long and nasty fight with an uncompromising attitude could even turn public opinion against illegal immigrants.  That is why DREAMers need to emphasize upon their leaders to tone down the rhetoric and stop being so belligerent.