Updated on December 12, 2017
CSII Interactive Map: Number Eligible for DREAM Act of 2017 and Economic Gains by U.S. Congressional District
With Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) coming to a close on March 5th, 2018, pressure has been placed on Congress to legislate a pathway to lawful status for undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States when they were young. This population, known as the “DREAMers” since the first DREAM act was introduced in 2001, generally includes those who entered the U.S. unlawfully when they were minors, have been in the U.S. for several years, are either enrolled in school or have completed a high school diploma in the U.S., and have “good moral character” (i.e. no serious criminal history).
Several bills were introduced by Congress in 2017 to address the DREAMers (see this Migration Policy Institute fact sheet for a concise summary of them along with estimates of the number of people eligible). The interactive map below provides the latest CSII estimates of the number of people currently eligible for one of these bills – the DREAM Act of 2017 – by U.S. Congressional District, as well as estimates from the Center for American Progress (CAP) of the economic gains that would stem from legalizing potentially eligible individuals already in the workforce.
Under the DREAM Act, undocumented individuals would first need to meet some basic age at arrival and length of residence requirements to be considered: they must have been under age 18 upon arrival and have lived continuously in the U.S. for at least four years. To be eligible for Conditional Permanent Resident (CPR) status, they must also either be enrolled in school or have a high school diploma (or equivalent), have good moral character, and pass a medical examination. From that point, those with CPR status would be eligible to apply for Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status and eventually U.S. citizenship after meeting additional requirements around educational attainment, military service, or employment (again, see this Migration Policy Institute factsheet for a summary of the requirements).
The interactive map below provides the latest CSII estimates of both the number of individuals meeting the basic age at arrival and length of residence requirements, and the number eligible for CPR status under the DREAM Act of 2017. It also includes estimated gains in GDP from enactment of the DREAM Act, based on a scenario in which all those who meet the basic age at arrival and length of residency requirements attain CPR status, and half of them then achieve LPR status through the educational pathway noted above. While we have not generated estimates of the number of DREAMers that would be eligible for lawful status and the economic benefits that would accrue under the other bills currently under consideration, it is likely that their distribution across Congressional Districts would be similar.
We hope that this data grounded in Congressional Districts will be helpful to inform the civic debates that are currently underway across the nation about the policies being considered by Congress.