Rondell Treviño, Founder & President, Memphis immigration Project
Since the September 5, 2017 announcement of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) being rescinded in March 2018, there have been a couple of legislative bills introduced that seek to protect Immigrant Dreamers: The Dream Act of 2017 and the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act.
There’s another legislative bill that has been introduced: Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Employment, Education and Defending our nation (SUCCEED) Act.
What is the SUCCEED Act?
Senators. Thom Tillis (R-NC), James Lankford (R-OK) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced a new bill, the Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Employment, Education and Defending our nation (SUCCEED) Act, today.
The bill serves as one possible legislative solution for Dreamers, the young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and young babies without any choice in the matter.
The SUCCEED Act would allow Dreamers to earn legal status, and eventual citizenship after 15 years. In order to qualify, they must “meet specific requirements, pass an extensive criminal background check, and follow one or a combination of three merit-based tracks to demonstrate they are productive members of their communities,” according to a handout the senators circulated.
To qualify for CPR status, undocumented children must first pass a rigorous vetting process. Eligibility and vetting requirements include:
- Arriving in the US before the age of 16 and before June 15, 2012, the enactment date of DACA.
- Obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent, if 18 or older.
- Passing a thorough criminal background check, which extends to information obtained from INTERPOL or the country of origin to screen for individuals with a criminal past or gang affiliation.
- Submitting biometric and biographic data to the Department of Homeland Security.
- Registering for the military selective service.
- Paying any existing federal tax liabilities.
- Signing an acknowledgment that they will not be eligible for any form of relief or immigration benefit pursuant to the legislation if they are convicted of a crime while on CPR status.
After five years of CPR status, individuals may renew their status for another five years if they fulfill their commitment to pursue at least one of the three merit-based pathways over a 48-month or 60-month period and have demonstrated good moral character. Individuals could lose their CPR status if they fail to fulfill their merit-based obligations, commit a felony or a serious misdemeanor, or become a “public charge” (defined by the USCIS as one who becomes primarily dependent on the government for subsistence).
After 10 years of holding CPR status, individuals would be eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Status (LPR) or a “green card” after paying any tax liabilities. The bill requires green card holders to wait a minimum of five years before they are able to apply for naturalization if they choose to do so.
Additionally, the SUCCEED Act prevents the parents of undocumented children from receiving benefits or preferential treatment and prevents undocumented children from petitioning their parents.
The bill also deters future illegal immigration by requiring future non-immigrant visa recipients to sign a waiver forfeiting any future immigration benefits if they violate the terms of their visa.
Adapted by the National Immigration Forum and DREAM Action Coalition.
Memphis immigration Project is a faith-based organization that exists to inspire the Christian community and people of good will to love their Immigrant Neighbor.