On June 4, 2019, the US House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act by a margin of 237 to 187. The following is a section by section summary of that bill’s provisions:

Section 1. Short Title – The Act is titled the “American Dream and Promise Act of 2019

Section 2. Table of Contents


Section 101 – Short Title – “Dream Act of 2019”

Section 102. Permanent Resident Status on a Conditional Basis for Certain Long-Term Residents Who Entered the United States as Children

Beneficiaries of this bill will not be subject to removal and shall receive permanent residency on a conditional basis (or unconditional as section out in section 105(2) if

  • the alien has been continuously physically present in the US since the date 4 years before the bill is enacted [this covers a number of people not covered under DACA which required admission prior to June 2007
  • the alien was younger than 18 on the date of initially entry [compared to DACA which required one be younger than 16 at the time of entry]
  • the alien is not inadmissible based on various criminal and security grounds, as well as miscellaneous grounds like unlawful voting and international child abduction, those who have participated in persecuting others, and those who have committed serious crimes but have not been convicted.

Applicants must have

  1. been admitted to an institution of higher education,
  2. earned a high school diploma or GED, or recognized post-secondary credential; or
  3. is enrolled in secondary school or in an education program assisting students obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent, passing the GED, obtaining a certificate from an area career and technical education school providing education at the secondary level, or obtaining a recognized post-secondary credential.

DACA recipients are eligible independently unless they have become ineligible for DACA or was never granted DACA but would have been eligible had it not been rescinded on September 5, 2017.

The fee will be $495 (exemptions may be granted under section 302(c).

Biometrics and background checking shall be conducted and completed before conditional permanent residency is granted.

Applicants shall establish they’ve registered for Military Selective Service if subject.

Individuals otherwise eligible who are not yet 18 years of age and otherwise eligible for DREAM shall receive a stay of removal. [This implies that one must be 18 to apply but I cannot find a provision explicitly stating that]

Aliens who were removed or voluntarily departed on or after January 20, 2017 may apply for DREAM if they are otherwise eligible or were previously granted DACA or would have been eligible if DACA wasn’t rescinded and the reason for their removal or voluntary departure was purely immigration-related (e.g. they were unlawfully present)

Section 103. Terms of Permanent Resident Status on a Conditional Basis

Conditional permanent residence shall last ten years unless the DHS Secretary extends that period. For the purposes of professional, commercial and business licenses, conditional permanent residency shall be treated on the same basis as any other permanent residents.

Conditional permanent residency shall be terminated if the DHS Secretary determines the alien ceases to meet the education requirements and the alien has had a chance to provide counter-evidence.

Section 104. Return to Previous Immigration Status

If conditional status is removed, the person will return to the status they had immediately before receiving permanent resident status.

Section 105. Removal of Conditional Basis of Permanent Resident Status.

Conditional residency will be removed if the alien is still meeting the requirements described in Section 102, hasn’t abandoned residency in the US, and has

  1. earned a degree of higher education or has completed at least 2 years of a program leading to a bachelor or higher degree or a certificate/credential from an area career and technical education school providing education at the postsecondary level,
  2. served two years in the armed forces and, if discharged, discharged honorably, or
  3. has been employed for periods totaling at least 3 years and at least 75 of the time the alien has had valid employment authorization

DHS may waive these provisions based on compelling circumstances and the alien demonstrates a disability, the alien is a full-time caregiver of a minor child; or the removal of the alien would result in a hardship to the alien or his or her spouse, parent, or child who is a national of the US or a lawful permanent resident.

The alien must satisfy the English/civics requirements normally applicable to citizenship applicants (a disability exception is available).

A fee to be determined later will be charged.

Biometric and background checking will be completed before conditions will be removed.

For purposes of naturalization, all time spent in conditional permanent residence will count toward the naturalization residency requirements, but conditional residency must be lifted before one can apply to naturalize.

Applicants can file for removal of conditional residency as soon as they meet one of the three requirements noted above.

Unconditional permanent residency (Section 105(2)). If an applicant meets one of the three requirements above (has a degree, served in armed forces or worked legally for at least three+ years) and can satisfy English/civics testing requirement at the time of filing for DREAM, unconditional permanent residency may be granted.

Section 106. Restoration of State Option to Determine Residency for Purposes of Higher Education Benefits.

Section 505 of the 1996 Immigration Act is appealed. This limited the ability of states to grant in state tuition benefits to people out of legal status. Limits eligibility for federal financial aid to student loans and work study (i.e. no Pell Grants).



Section 201. Short Title – “American Promise Act of 2019”

Section 202. Adjustment of Status for Certain Nationals of Certain Countries Designated For Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure. 

DHS shall cancel the removal and adjust to permanent residency aliens who apply to adjust within 3 years of the date of enactment of this Act.

Similar bars for crimes and other grounds to the DREAM provisions noted above.

Eligibility for aliens who

  1. Are nationals of a state designated as having TPS as of September 25, 2016 or has a grant of Deferred Enforced Departure as of September 28, 2016; and
  2. Has been continuously physically present in the US for a period of not less than 3 years before the date of enactment of this Act.

For those who were removed or voluntarily departed on or after September 25, 2016, an alien shall be eligible to adjust if the alien applies from abroad, was physically present in the US for at least three years before the date of removal or departure, had TPS on such date and the sole reason for removal/departure was the expiration of TPS. Similar rule for DED for Liberians.

There will be an application fee of $1140.

Removal proceedings will be stayed while an application for adjustment is pending.

Section 203. Reporting Requirements Regarding Future Discontinued Eligibility Of Aliens From Countries Currently Listed Under Temporary Protected Status.

Requires the DHS Secretary to issue a report to Congress when they seek to end TPS for a country.

Section 204. Waiver of Certain Language Requirements.

English language requirements do not apply to adjustment applicants under this section.

Section 205. Clarification of Inspection and Admission Under Temporary Protected Status. 

TPS recipients are considered to have been inspected and admitted to the US. [This will enable TPS recipients to apply to adjust status to permanent residency under other grounds even if not eligible under this program].



Section 301. Definitions.

Defines various terms including the following:

  • “area career and technical education school”
  • “DACA”
  • “Disability”
  • “Early Childhood Education Program”
  • “Elementary School; High School; Secondary School”
  • “Immigration Laws”
  • “Institution of Higher Education”
  • “Permanent Resident Status on a Conditional Basis”
  • “Federal Poverty Line”
  • “Recognized Postsecondary Credential”
  • “Secretary”
  • “Uniformed Services”

For purposes of this Act, “convictions” don’t include judgments that have been expunged or set aside. [This is different than DHS’ position in other areas of immigration law].

Section 302. Limitation on Removal; Application and Fee Exemption; Waiver of Grounds for Inadmissibility and Other Conditions on Eligible Individuals.

Anyone who has presented evidence of relief from removal or appears prima facie eligible or who has filed for one of the benefits under this Act, may not be removed. Those ordered removed or granted voluntary departure may apply to adjust under this Act without having to file a separate motion to reopen or reconsider. If DHS approves, DHS will cancel removal.

Application fees under this Act may be waived if an applicant is under 18 years of age, has an income below 150% of the poverty line, is in foster care or can’t care for himself or herself because of a serious, chronic disability.

With respect to benefits under this Act, DHS can waive the grounds of inadmissibility noted above.

Advance parole and employment authorization are available to applicants for adjustment under the Act.

Section 303. Determination of Continuous Presence.

The period of continuous residence required under Titles I and II don’t terminate when an alien is served a notice to appear under Section 239(a) of the INA.

Generally speaking, absences of more than 90 days or an aggregate of 180 days break continuous physical presence. Exceptions are made for extenuating circumstances and authorized travel outside the US don’t count.

Section 304. Exemption from Numerical Limitations. 

The numbers used in this category don’t count against other numerical limitations in other categories.

Section 305. Availability of Administrative and Judicial Review. 

DHS must provide an administrative review process for people denied applications under this Act similar to administrative appellative review processes available elsewhere in immigration law.

Section 306. Documentation Requirements.

Documents Establishing Identity –

Under Title I, include as proof of identity,

  • passport or national ID document from the alien’s country
  • alien’s birth certificate and an ID card
  • school ID card
  • Uniformed Services ID card
  • any official immigration document; or
  • a state-issued ID card

Documents establishing continuous physical presence in the US –

  • employment records
  • school records
  • Uniformed Services records
  • official records from a religious entity
  • passport entries
  • birth certificate for US-born children of the alien
  • auto license receipts or registration
  • deeds, mortgages or rental agreements
  • tax receipts
  • insurance policies
  • remittance records
  • rent receipts or utility bills
  • copies of money orders for money sent in or out of the US
  • dated bank transactions
  • two or more sworn affidavits from non-related individuals with direct knowledge of alien’s continuous physical residence

Documents establishing initial entry to the US –

  • an admission stamp on the alien’s passport
  • school records
  • immigration documents stating the alien’s date of entry to the US
  • hospital or medical records
  • rent receipts or utility bills
  • employment records
  • religious records
  • birth certificate of US-born kids of the alien
  • auto license receipts or registration
  • deeds, mortgages, or rental agreement contracts
  • tax receipts
  • travel records
  • copies of money order receipts sent in or out of the country;
  • dated bank transactions
  • remittance records; or
  • insurance policies.

Documents Establishing Admission to An Institution of Higher Education –

  • A document from the school documenting admission or
  • that the person is currently enrolled.

Documents Establishing Receipt of a Degree From an Institution of Higher Education – a diploma or other document showing receipt of the degree

Documents Establishing Receipt of High School Diploma, General Educational Development Credential, or a Recognized Equivalent

  • a high school diploma, certificate of completion or other alternate award
  • a high school equivalency diploma
  • GED passage documentation
  • evidence of completion of an area career and technical education program; or
  • evidence that the alien has obtained a recognized postsecondary credential.

Documents Establishing Enrollment In an Educational Program –

  • documents including the name of the school and
  • the client’s name, periods of attendance and current grade or educational level

Various other lists are included to demonstrate exemption from application fees, the applicant’s age, the applicant’s income, establishing use of foster care, lack of familial support, homelessness, chronic disability, unpaid medical expenses, hardship, serving in the Uniformed Service and establishing employment.

Section 307. Rule Making

Within 90 days of enactment, DHS will publish interim final rules allowing people to apply immediately for benefits under the act. Final rules must be published within 180 days.

Section 308. Confidentiality of Information. 

Information provided in applications under the Act may not later be used for immigration enforcement except as part of background checking, to identify fraudulent claims, for national security purposes or to investigate felonies not related to immigration status.

Section 309. Grant Program to Assist Eligible Applicants.

Nonprofit organizations will be eligible for grant programs to assist applicants apply under the Act.

Section 310. Provisions Affecting Eligibility For Adjustment of Status. 

Applying for a benefit under this Act doesn’t preclude a person for applying for a benefit under any other provision of law.



Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind

Greg Siskind is a partner with Siskind Susser, PC - Immigration Lawyers. After graduating from Vanderbilt University, he received his law degree at the University of Chicago. He created the first immigration law web site in 1994 and the first law blog in 1997. He's written four books and currently serves on the board of governors of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. He can be reached by email at gsiskind@visalaw.com.
Greg Siskind
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One Response to Siskind Summary – HR 6 – The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019

  1. David Funke says:

    Note, the House Judiciary Committee also passed a separate Promise Act, H.R. 2821, that allows TPS beneficiaries to file for adjustment of status. DACA is not included. Ranking member Collins remarked that the bill has “no chance of passage,” probably due to veto concerns, but the Republican side appears to accept a Promise Act that only includes Salvadorans and Hondurans, with no public fund appropriation for grants for legal aid. This would certainly be a Godsend for the quarter million Salvadorans who are hanging on by an injunction that the 9th Circuit Panel does not seem inclined to extend. There is precedent! NACARA took some numbers from the hated DV lottery. That would be a good swap, the lottery for TPS adjustment.

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