Immigration activists gear up for Aug. 15 DREAM Relief Day
In two weeks, somewhere around 1 million people who were brought into the country illegally as children can begin applying for temporary permission to live and work in the U.S. under an Obama administration directive aimed at so-called DREAM Act students.
On Tuesday, immigrant advocates in Chicago began gearing up for the Aug. 15 launch of the application process by announcing a DREAM Relief Day event on the same day at Navy Pier, where attorneys and other volunteers will be available to help those eligible apply for the two-year work permits.
The process, announced in June over heated objections from some lawmakers and others who seek tougher immigration enforcement, is open to people born after June 15, 1981, who were brought into the U.S. before they turned 16 and have lived here continuously for at least five years.
Applicants also must be in school, or show proof that they have graduated high school, have earned a GED diploma or have been honorably discharged fromU.S. militaryduty. People who have been convicted of a felony or a “serious misdemeanor” that resulted in jail time or significant fines are not eligible to apply, according to federal officials.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Chicago, said the initiative could help lead to the sweeping federal immigration changes that advocates have sought unsuccessfully for years — including the federal DREAM Act, which would create a pathway to citizenship for many young immigrants.
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