Masters Thesis

Managing the tide: the Dream Act, a policy analysis

Many developments have kept the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act and the issue of undocumented college students in the news and on federal and state legislative agendas. There is an inevitable tide of growing undocumented students graduating from high school looking for college options. The paper examines the proposed piece of legislation called the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act would permit undocumented students to begin a six-year process leading to permanent legal status. Among other requirements, they would need to graduate from a U.S. high school and have entered the U.S. at least five years before the legislation is signed into law at the age of 15 or younger. To complete the process they would, within the six year period, be required to graduate from a community college, completing at least two years towards a four year degree, or serve at least two years in the U.S. military. These individuals would qualify for in-state tuition rates in all states during the six-year period. The DREAM Act would provide a path to legal residence for undocumented youth with a caveat; students would have to earn their legal status. It also would open the door to college for tens of thousands of students who have the knowledge, skills and aspirations to pursue a college degree or military training creating an available stream of educated employees as we move into the next century. The paper explores DREAM Act economic outcomes from increased high school graduation rates, legalized citizenship and work force growth. The paper recommends a change in the framing of these three outcomes and suggests with the promotion of the economic benefits of these outcomes the DREAM Act would become a law


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