Putting Education Reform To The Test


Your Guide To The Florida DREAM Act


The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act, is a piece of proposed federal legislation aimed at paving a way to citizenship for some foreign-born youths living in the U.S.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in December 2010.

But later that month the U.S. Senate voted 55-41 to block the bill from going to President Obama for his signature.

State DREAM Act

Florida is one of the only states (besides Arizona) which known as an immigration “receiver state” that has not passed a state DREAM Act.

  • A state DREAM Act would allow undocumented students in Florida to pay in-state tuition to attend Florida colleges. Currently undocumented college students, and U.S. born students with undocumented parents pay the out-of-state rate, which is up to three times higher than the in-state rate.

In the 2012 Legislative Session, bills HB 441 and SB 1018 would allow U.S. born Florida residents who attended a Florida high school to pay in-state college tuition even if they have undocumented parents. This bill has been voted down in the past.

Federal DREAM Act

In order to have qualified for the proposed federal DREAM Act, students must have:
• Entered the U.S. when they were 15-years-old or younger
• Graduated from a U.S. high school or obtained a GED
• Have no criminal record
• Complete either two years of college or service in the military

Even though it is not a law now, the Obama administration has encouraged immigration agents to grant deferred action status to undocumented student who would have qualified for the DREAM Act—in case the bill does pass some day soon.

Deferred action is a form of prosecutorial discretion that temporarily allows children of undocumented immigrants to have valid identification, work lawfully and go to school.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has issued guidelines that local immigration agents are encouraged to follow. But the decision to grant or deny deferred action is discretionary.

In order to apply for the temporary status, students must first be detained or face deportation.

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