The Difference Between DACA and the DREAM Act

The term “DREAMers” is consistently in the news. It refers to the young men and women who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents when they were children or teens. In 2012, former President Barack Obama signed an executive order that provided DREAMers some level of relief from deportation. The executive order was called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA for short.

Obama’s order allowed the undocumented youth to receive work permits and made them a low priority for deportation. As a result, Hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth came out of the shadows and applied for the program. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, nearly 800,000 undocumented youth have applied for and received DACA protections.

The program was ended by President Donald Trump in September 2017, but if DACA recipients are called DREAMers, what’s the DREAM Act?

The DREAM Act is a bill that was introduced in the United States Senate in July of 2017. The bill is also designed to protect DREAMers from deportation. Both DACA and the DREAM Act are similar in that regard.

The reason they’re different is because one is a temporary solution while the other is permanent. When Obama signed the executive order creating DACA he did so knowing that it could easily be undone by future presidents. President Donald Trump has kept DACA in place but it’s future is in question.

Meanwhile, the DREAM Act is a bill in its infancy. If the bill were to pass through both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives it would end up on Trump’s desk where he would have the option to sign it in to law or reject it with his veto power. If it’s signed in to law it would be a permanent solution for the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers currently under DACA.

Once in the books as a law the DREAM Act would require an act of Congress in order for it to be undone.

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