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A How To Guide for Becoming a DREAM Act Beneficiary

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Thanks to the hardworking efforts of lots of nice folks who know how to manipulate a lame-duck session of Congress to get unpopular legislation passed, the DREAM Act is heading to the U.S. Senate for a vote. This nifty “educational initiative” that – just between us is really an amnesty plan – offers a range of features and benefits to help you overcome the inconvenience of being an illegal alien. Just in case this passes, we thought you’d like a handy reference guide to help you choose your options wisely:


Are you an illegal alien? Congratulations! This is the most important qualification.

Did you enter the U.S. illegally before age 16 and have you lived here for 5 years? Are you up to, but not over, the age of 30? The answers to these questions don’t really matter since you can easily forge the documentation needed to establish when you entered the country, how long you have lived here and how old you are. You been illegally present in the U.S. so how will the federal government really be able to verify anything about you?

Are you over 12 and enrolled in primary or secondary school? You get a Stay of Removal.

Do you have a high school diploma or a GED? You’re granted 5 years of Conditional Nonimmigrant Status. You’re now eligible to work in the United States and travel to and from the U.S. without impediment.

OK, now you have two options to qualify for a green card. The first option is 2 years of college. Would you like to attend? If yes, good choice because you can access federal student loan programs plus financial aid, grants, loans and scholarships, and in-state tuition in 11 states. Better hurry too, because there are lots of legal residents applying for those limited resources too. Your other benefit is that you don’t actually have to earn a degree. You must only complete the equivalent of two years of coursework. But if you don’t prefer this option, don’t worry. Homeland Security may waive the educational requirements if you demonstrate “hardship.” They will either extend your five year conditional nonimmigrant status or grant you a green card outright.


The other option is serving in the military for 2 years. Why even choose this when the college option is so much easier? But if you choose military service, that hardship waiver applies here also.

This all sounds great but I’m worried about giving personal information to the government. Don’t be. Application information is confidential. The DREAM Act absolutely prohibits any government official from using this information to initiate removal proceedings, even if your application is denied or conditional nonimmigrant status is revoked.

Uh, I have three misdemeanor convictions. The DREAM Act lets bygones be bygones. As long as your 3 misdemeanors convictions did not result in an aggregate 90 day sentence, you’re good to go.

What about federal benefits once I get my green card? Won’t I have to wait 5 years before I get them like all legal immigrants who get their green card? Wrong. The longstanding 5 year waiting period for federal benefits is waived, just for you! You will be immediately eligible for all federal benefits, including coverage under the new health care law.

Do I have to leave my family behind? Of course not. Once you get your green card (and are at least 21 years old), you can petition to get green cards for your relatives too, including your parents who brought you here illegally to begin with.


That’s pretty much it. See you down the hall, second door on the left at the Green Card Window in the Federal Department of Amnesty, oops, we mean the Department of Homeland Security.

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