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Senators reintroduce Dream Act to give immigrants path to citizenship

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

PHOENIX — The Dream Act, which would give some young immigrants a shot at becoming United States citizens, was reintroduced in the Senate on Thursday.

The act would create a path to citizenship for immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children.

“These young people have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of the bill’s sponsors, said in a press release. “There is support across the country for allowing Dreamers — who have records of achievement — to stay, work, and reach their full potential.”

Dreamers would be required to graduate from high school or obtain their GED and either pursue a higher education, work for three years or serve in the military.

“We should not squander these young people’s talents and penalize our own nation,” Graham said. “Our legislation would allow these young people who grew up in the United States to contribute more fully to the country they love.”

They would also have to demonstrate an understanding of both the English language and U.S. history, pass a background check and have a clean criminal record.

Graham cosponsored the bill with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who introduced the original Dream Act 16 years ago.

“I’ll continue fighting until it becomes the law of the land,” he said in the release.

Several versions of the Dream Act have been introduced over the years but, for varying reasons, it has failed to pass each time.

NBC News said Thursday’s act was introduced hurriedly, as a group of conservative attorneys have demanded President Donald Trump’s administration stop accepting and renewing deportation deferrals under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.