What Is the American Dream and Promise Act, and What Does It Mean for You?

In a Nutshell

A significant part of President Biden's campaign messaging was overturning the Trump Administration's immigration policies and establishing a path to lawful permanent residence and citizenship for undocumented immigrant youth called Dreamers. Soon after winning the election, President Biden reinstated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that President Obama had started in 2012. A few months into his administration, U.S. legislators restarted conversations about granting DACA recipients green cards with the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021.

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 1, 2022

The American Dream and Promise Act of 2021

The American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 is an immigration reform bill. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard [Democrat-CA-40] was the bill’s sponsor in March 2021. The bill had 175 Democrat and 0 Republican co-sponsors.

If passed, the Act would protect young people called Dreamers, with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), people with Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), and children of certain nonimmigrant classes from deportation. The act would also create a path for their conditional permanent resident status.

The Effects of the Proposed Act

U.S. citizenship is out of reach for many Dreamers with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status. But under the Dream Act, those with conditional permanent residence could eventually naturalize as U.S. citizens after five years as lawful permanent residents. This would grant Dreamers long-term legal status and employment authorization.

The proposed bill has various eligibility requirements. All applicants would need to have had a continuous presence in the country since January 1, 2021. They would need to pass a background check for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approval and would need to meet specific educational requirements. For instance, they must be enrolled in high school or other higher education programs or have graduated from them.

The Dream and Promise Act is the most recent Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (Dream) Act. Congress has debated the enactment of the Dream Act several times over the last two decades. The Dream and Promise Act of 2021 has passed in the House of Representatives. But it has not yet gone up for a Senate vote. On June 15, 2021, the Senate Judiciary Committee held oral hearings in Washington, D.C. for the bill. To become law, 60 out of 100 Senators must vote in favor of the Act.