The Dream Act: What Americans Need to Know

Much of the media coverage surrounding President Trump’s decision to end the unconstitutional and illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has referred to DACA recipients as “Dreamers.” That term refers to the ill-fated Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) originally introduced by Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch in 2001. DACA and the DREAM Act are two different versions of the same bad idea. Here’s what Americans need to know:

  • The DREAM Act is just another amnesty program: First introduced in 2001, the DREAM Act was pitched as a measure to “protect” children who were brought here unlawfully by their illegal alien parents. In reality, it was just another attempt to move closer to a blanket amnesty that would grant illegal aliens a path to citizenship, rewarding them for breaking our immigration laws.
  • The DEAM Act has never passed, despite multiple attempts to ram it through Congress: Voters made their opinions about the DREAM Act known, legislators listened, and the bill failed. In fact, every attempt to pass the DREAM Act has failed.
  •  Even though it has repeatedly failed to pass, the DREAM Act won’t die: The most recent versions of the Dream Act were introduced, in July 2017, in the Senate by Lindsay Graham and Dick Durbin and in the House by Lucille Roybal-Allard and  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Each version of the DREAM Act has expanded the classes of people who would be amnestied.
  • DACA = DREAM Act lite: When the DREAM Act failed President Obama tried to impose a watered-down version of it, without the consent of the American people. His unconstitutional DACA enabled almost 800,000 illegal aliens to work, attend school and collect government-funded benefits in the U.S., but it did not grant any permanent benefits.
  • The latest version of the DREAM Act would amnesty millions: If DACA were written into law by Congress, it would grant amnesty to a large group of illegal aliens, roughly 600,000-800,000. But the DREAM Act would amnesty as many as 3.3 million people.

As part of its never-ending attempt to achieve a blanket amnesty for all illegal aliens, the anti-borders lobby wants the public to believe that DACA and the DREAM Act are one and the same. Then they can argue, “Well, we’ve already had the DREAM Act under DACA and the sky didn’t fall, let’s just make it a law.”

DACA was bad enough, but it was only temporary. Let’s not get stuck with a much more lenient, and more permanent, version of that misguided program because the illegal alien defenders snuck in the DREAM Act. If the DREAM Act were to pass, it’s only a short step to a blanket amnesty and the virtual erasure of America’s borders.

Should President Trump do a “DACA deal,” he should insist on getting real enforcement and true immigration reform for the American people in return. And any deal should be limited to current DACA recipients, with no criminal record. We live in the United States of America, not the United States of Amnesty.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    They don’t intend to want to be a part of a nation of laws. These people know they are breaking the law. I was born with major medical issue’s an never had access to what help we offer them. These people should care about the home they need to build. In the nation they arrived from.

  2. avatar

    DACA should be ENDED FOREVER!!! It is NOT right giving a certain group of people a free pass… they use DACA to give amnesty, we will be flooded with more and more illegals coming to get the FREE HANDOUTS (Free healthcare, free education, some get the free welfare..etc… ) There are many DACA people who are in their 20s and up to 35 years old… WHY have they NOT done one thing to apply for legal status? because they want it all handed to them FREE…. When you start giving illegal aliens a free pass, free benefits and more of our rights.. you steal the meaning of our citizenship…. WHY would anyone want to pay the price to come here legally and obey the laws when all they need to do is come in illegally and they are handed more and more of our rights and benefits…
    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! We would save over $100 Billion EVERY year by STOPPING ALL free benefits to ALL illegal aliens… there is NO way that these illegal aliens contribute more than they TAKE from us

  3. avatar

    I would to know why all this attention is given to DACA. The American people are never consented and they are the ones who will pay for it. We give the Illegals free health, free education and welfare and ways for DACA students to receive a higher education. Many American families work hard to provide this education for their children! We pay billions to these Illegals and they send twenty- eight billion back to their countries. No wonder our country is twenty trillion in debt!!!! Mexico helps these people to come here, as this money is their biggest source of income. The left need the votes and want to give away the country. We are heading to third world status!!!!! Why would Trump meet with Pelosi and Schumer, as they hate him with a passion.

    • avatar

      While my grandson has to take out loans and work a job to get higher learning he is expected to pay for non-citizens to go to college free and if these illegals don’t even have to go through the imagration process to learn English and our history, then our congress is comitting treason against the people.

      • avatar

        my granddaughter of a single mom has a $60.000 bill in student loans hanging over her head for four years plus l year toward her masters. she has always worked at school and in the summers to pay her way, gotten great grades, never in troublle, gotten every scholarship she could …and she is going to a nh college, not harvard…and still owes this amount of money. she can not finish her masters at this time because she would have to take out another loan. she got a job and now is still living with her mom to pay off these loans. not right.

  4. avatar

    “Should President Trump do a “DACA deal,” he should insist on getting real enforcement and true immigration reform for the American people in return. And any deal should be limited to current DACA recipients, with no criminal record.”

    Weren’t we sold this same bill of goods in 1986? Will we EVER learn?

    • avatar

      REAGAN …amnesty in 1988 ‘s to 3.5 illegals , e verify stronger laws… worked so well we now have 11 million illegal alens. don’t kid yourself…a wall and massive deportations of all of them. otherwise in another ten years there will be 20 million more because the democrats will be in charge as they will have all these votes. NO DACA

      • avatar

        Francis Quinn we never got the enforcement part of the 1986 amnesty dont forget.

        We need the folllowing before one illegal gets amnesty:

        1. the wall all 2000 miles of it
        2. e verify mandate for all work including contractor and for all current employees
        3. clarification of birth right citizenship
        4. the raise act
        5. entry / exit visa for all non permanent USA residents / citizens
        6. oliver-davis act
        7 getting rid of all other illegal work permits; including opt and getting rid of the h 1 b and other visas

        Did we miss anything?