The U.S. Senate approved a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, moving hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented students known as DREAMers closer to the possibility of becoming citizens.
Under the measure approved on a 68-32 vote, undocumented immigrant youth who were brought to the United States as children would have a five-year path to citizenship if they meet certain conditions, including having a high school diploma or a GED, completing two years of college, or four years of service in the military. That provision, however, only benefits undocumented immigrants who are now over the age of 16 and can meet the education or military service requirements. An amendment to extend the five-year path to “little DREAMers” was not adopted.
The Senate bill also would create a 13-year path to citizenship for most of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country, and requires tougher border security provisions that must be up and running before immigrants can gain legal status.
The measure now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it faces stiffer opposition from Republicans.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.