Dream Act

H.R. 3440; S. 1615

The Problem

Of the approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, more than a million are “Dreamers,” undocumented young people who were brought to the United States as minors and have spent most of their lives living in the United States. In 2012, the Obama Administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to help these Dreamers.

The DACA program provided much needed relief for Dreamers who have no criminal history and are in school (or have graduated) or who serve in the military (or have been honorably discharged). DACA allowed these young people to come out of the shadows and live fully within their communities.

However, the Trump Administration announced on September 5, 2017 an end to the DACA program. As early as March 2018, some of the 800,000 young people who qualified for DACA will be subject to potential deportation.

LGBTQ Dreamers

Undocumented LGBTQ people experience compounded discrimination due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, and immigration status, making them some of the most vulnerable individuals in our country. It is estimated that approximately 75,000 Dreamers are LGBTQ, and 36,000 of them have gotten relief through DACA.

In a third of countries around the world, it is a crime to be LGBTQ. Thousands of people every year are arrested, harassed and even murdered because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Sending LGBTQ Dreamers back to these countries would gravely threaten their health and safety.

What is the Dream Act?

The Dream Act would provide Dreamers the opportunity to apply for permanent legal status and eventually become eligible for U.S. citizenship. It would also cancel the removal of undocumented immigrants who have been continuously physically present in the United States for four years preceding the bill's enactment, were younger than 18 when they were first brought to the United States, and have no criminal record. In addition, eligible undocumented immigrants must be in school or have graduated, or be serving in the military (or have received an honorable discharge). After maintaining lawful permanent resident status for five years, these Dreamers would then be able to apply to become U.S. citizens.

What is the Current Status of the Bill?

The Dream Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) on July 26, 2017, and in the Senate by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) on July 20, 2017.


For more information, please contact legislation@hrc.org. Read about other federal legislation pertinent to the LGBTQ community here.

Last Updated: November 6, 2017