New Analysis Finds GOP DREAM Alternative Falls Short

Washington — The First Focus Campaign for Children commented today on a new analysis by First Focus, comparing the Assisting Children and Helping them Improve their Educational Value for Employment (ACHIEVE) Act (S. 3639) with the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act (S. 952, H.R. 1842). The analysis finds that, compared to the DREAM Act, the ACHIEVE Act imposes several bureaucratic obstacles to educational success and immigration relief, indicating that the DREAM Act serves as a more child-friendly model for inclusion in future comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

“The ACHIEVE Act doesn’t deliver what kids need, and the DREAM Act provides a much better model for comprehensive immigration reform that improves children’s lives,” said First Focus Campaign for Children president Bruce Lesley.

Both proposals would address the severe limitations imposed by current law on children and young adults who were brought to the United States by their parents outside official immigration channels and, because of their immigration status, are practically unable to obtain higher education or contribute to America’s economy. The First Focus Campaign for Children has endorsed the DREAM Act, which enjoys bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. The ACHIEVE Act, introduced Tuesday by Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), John Kyl (R-AZ), and John McCain (R-AZ), has been publicized as a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act. The First Focus analysis finds that, compared to the DREAM Act, the ACHIEVE Act:

  • Denies eligibility to some students, based on age, arbitrary educational timelines, and a more restrictive conduct provision;
  • Makes education less affordable, by denying students guaranteed loans and work-study, and by failing to eliminate a federal penalty on states that offer in-state tuition to qualifying students;
  • Raises a significant barrier to immigration relief, by requiring more than $3,000 in out-of-pocket fees;
  • Creates a complex system for immigration relief , establishing new bureaucratic requirements for each of several new immigration statuses, resulting in longer and more convoluted paths to citizenship for qualifying students;
  • Imposes a new periodic immigration status reporting requirement, resulting in additional administrative burdens for students and federal agencies; and
  • Denies qualifying students assistance with needs that directly impact educational success, like health care and nutrition

“America needs a comprehensive immigration solution that works for kids, not more restrictions, paperwork, and bureaucracy,” said Lesley.

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Children of Immigrants Education Press Release

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