Is the Graham-Durbin Proposal Good for DREAMers?

The halls of Congress have been filled with discussion over the past several weeks about the status of the estimated 690,000 unauthorized immigrants who are in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. For many individuals in the U.S., the fear of facing deportation removal proceedings is a reality they face everyday. While the future is uncertain, there are some that are fighting for the rights of those promised a home under DACA.

One proposed solution was introduced by several Senators in mid-January. Known as the Graham-Durbin proposal after Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), the legislation is exactly the same as a proposed compromise that was rejected by the President in early January. 

What Does the Graham-Durbin Proposal Do? 

Passing the proposal would earmark $2.705 billion dollars towards border security, get rid of the visa lottery, limit chain migration, and make DACA permanent while giving qualified people a path to citizenship. The 50,000 visas that currently make up the Diversity Visa Lottery would be redistributed to a couple of different areas. The dollar figure for border security would roughly equate to what the White House asked for in 2017 on supplemental funding requests. 

The proposal’s immigration qualification standards are said to be a compromise between the Democratic DREAM Act and the Republican SUCCEED Act. 

Is the Proposal Good for Dreamers? 

The bill would give those in the DACA program an opportunity to apply for provisional legal status and eventual green cards if they qualify. Legalization under the proposal would also be extended to those who never applied to DACA but would have qualified, and for those who were not able to apply for DACA because they were under the age of 15. 

The parents of DREAMers would be able to renew their legal status every few years, but they would not necessarily be eligible for a green card. Overall, the Migration Policy Institute estimates that about 2.1 million people would be eligible for amnesty under the Graham-Durbin proposal. 

Once parents are added in, the number of those eligible to legally stay in the United States could swell up to 5 million. This number is much higher than the several hundred thousand people who currently receive amnesty under DACA, and the proposal as a whole would be a big benefit for DREAMers who are hoping to receive permanent amnesty. 

Will the Graham-Durbin Proposal Become Law? 

The proposal was said to have hit all of the major points on immigration that the White House and Congressional leaders were looking for. 

However, some Democrats have expressed concern about giving President Trump any funding for border security, while some Republicans have said the proposal does not allocate enough money to the border. Lawmakers would also have to decide how to manage the millions of people who are backlogged in visa applications due to yearly limits. 

There’s also concern the proposal is simply too complicated to be negotiated on without weeks or even months of debate and discourse. White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said in late January that the President would not be willing to sign the Graham-Durbin proposal. 

If you are a DREAMer in danger of facing deportation proceedings, contact our office today to talk with an immigration attorney at NPZ Law Group.