Summary: S.1545 — 108th Congress (2003-2004)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (11/25/2003)

Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2003 or the DREAM Act - (Sec. 3) Amends the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 to repeal the denial of an unlawful alien's eligibility for higher education benefits based on State residence unless a U.S. national is similarly eligible without regard to such State residence.

(Sec. 4) Authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to cancel the removal of, and adjust to conditional permanent resident status, an alien who: (1) entered the United States prior to his or her sixteenth birthday, and has been present in the United States for at least five years immediately preceding enactment of this Act; (2) is a person of good moral character; (3) is not inadmissible or deportable under specified criminal, security, smuggling, or illegal entrant or immigration violator grounds, with certain age-related exceptions; (4) at the time of application, has been admitted to an institution of higher education, or has earned a U.S. high school or equivalent diploma; and (5) from the age of 16 and older, has never been under a final order of exclusion, deportation, or removal.

Authorizes waiver of certain grounds of deportability or ineligibility for humanitarian, family or public interest reasons. Prohibits removal of an alien whose conditional status application is pending. Sets forth continuous presence provisions.

(Sec. 5) Establishes, and sets forth the conditions for, a six-year conditional permanent resident status, including: (1) termination of status; and (2) removal of status to permanent status.

Requires an alien to file a petition for removal of conditional status which shall attest that such alien has: (1) maintained good moral character; (2) not abandoned his or her U.S. residence; (3) acquired a degree from a U.S. institution of higher education, or has completed at least two years in a U.S. bachelor's or higher degree program, and /or has served in the U.S. armed forces for at least two years and, if discharged, has received an honorable discharge. (Requires the petition to also show all U.S. secondary schools attended.)

(Sec. 6) States that: (1) if, upon the date of enactment of this Act, an alien has satisfied specified requirements under this Act the Secretary may adjust such alien's status to conditional permanent resident; and (2) an alien may petition for permanent resident status at the end of the conditional residence period if such alien has complied with specified requirements during the entire period of conditional residence.

(Sec. 7) Grants the Secretary exclusive jurisdiction to determine eligibility for relief under this Act, except where an alien has been placed into deportation, exclusion, or removal proceedings in which case the Attorney General shall have exclusive jurisdiction until such proceedings' termination.

Directs the Attorney General to stay the removal proceedings of any alien who: (1) meets the requirements for relief under this Act, except for high school graduation; and (2) is at least 12 years old and enrolled full-time in primary or secondary school. Permits such an alien to work consistent with appropriate labor laws.

(Sec. 8) Establishes fines and/or up to five years' imprisonment for (willful) false application statements.

(Sec. 9) Provides for confidentiality of information, with exceptions for specified law enforcement or coroner's office purposes. Establishes a fine of up to $10,000 for knowing violations of such confidentiality.

(Sec. 10) Provides for expedited application processing (without additional fees).

(Sec. 11) Requires an institution of higher education that enrolls an alien who is a beneficiary under this Act to register such alien in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

(Sec. 12) States that an alien who adjusts to lawful permanent resident status under this Act shall be eligible only for the following assistance under title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965: (1) specified student loans; (2) Federal work-study programs; and (3) other services under such title.

(Sec. 13) Requires a General Accounting Office report seven years after enactment of this Act respecting the number of aliens: (1) who were eligible for cancellation of removal and adjustment of status; (2) who applied for adjustment of status; (3) who were granted adjustment of status; and (4) whose conditional status was removed.