Republicans Leak Draft of GOP-DREAM Act

Article date: 
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Article category: 
National Issues
Article Body: 

Last week, a group of Republican Senators working on a GOP-led alternative to the DREAM Act released details of their plan to the Daily Caller. (Daily Caller, Nov. 15, 2012) The draft legislation, entitled the ACHIEVE Act, would put illegal aliens up to the age of 32 on a path to citizenship. (Id.)

This path to citizenship starts through the creation of new non-immigrant visa category, the W-visa. Under the Republican plan, illegal aliens would be eligible for a W-1 visa if they:

  • have either:
    • completed high-school and are admitted to college or earned a college degree, or
    • completed high school and are enlisted in or have completed four years of military service,
  • have entered the country before the age of 14,
  • have lived in the U.S. continuously for five years,
  • have not committed a felony, two misdemeanors with a jail term of over 30 days, or a crime of moral turpitude,
  • are not subject to a final order of removal ,
  • pay a $525 fee, and
  • are under the age of 28 (or 32 if they have a bachelor's degree from a U.S. university).

Once an illegal alien receives a W-1 visa, the alien has six years to obtain a bachelor's, associate's, vocational/technical, or graduate degree, or to complete four years of military service. If the alien meets this threshold, the alien is then eligible for a W-2 visa. Under a W-2 visa, an alien must then either maintain employment for 36 months, or be in enrolled in or complete a graduate degree program within four years.

Then, after the four-year period is up, an alien who has fulfilled the requirements of a W-2 visa becomes eligible for a W-3 "permanent non-immigrant" visa. Although the authors of the ACHIEVE Act say it does not provide a special pathway to citizenship, the W-3 is renewable in four-year increments, and its recipients are free to adjust status to a green card via pathways already set up under current law.

Congressional sources say retiring Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) were working on the ACHIEVE Act with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio this summer, but put the plan on hold following President Obama's announcement he would be granting deferred action and work authorization to illegal aliens under the age of 31. (Fox News, Nov. 16, 2012)The text is "a working draft of what Sen. Rubio began working on over the summer," Sen. Marco Rubio's spokesman Alex Conant confirmed with the Huffington Post.(Huffington Post, Nov. 15, 2012)

The same day the GOP draft was leaked to the Daily Caller, Sen. Rubio called for a "permanent solution" for illegal alien minors during the annual Washington Ideas Forum. (Fox News Latino, Nov. 16, 2012) "[T]he issue of kids that are in this country undocumented is not an immigration issue, it's a humanitarian one," Rubio told the audience. (Id.) Sen. Rubio's spokesman indicated he is still finalizing the timing and specifics of the legislation. (Huffington Post, Nov. 15, 2012)