AILA: Senate Republican Bill Strays From Protecting Dreamers

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recognizes the important work done by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), James Lankford (R-OK), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) with the introduction of the SUCCEED Act which offers urgently needed protection for young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers. The sponsors of the bill recognize that Dreamers deserve a permanent solution that ultimately gives them the opportunity to become full members of American society.

AILA is deeply concerned however by several of the bill's provisions that quite simply are unworkable and would need to be fixed before AILA could support the final bill. We hope that the Senators will correct the flaws in their bill and continue their efforts to ensure passage of a bill protecting Dreamers. With such overwhelming support among Americans for Dreamers, AILA urges Congress to move forward swiftly by bringing for a vote the bipartisan Dream Act, which represents our best chance to unite Republicans and Democrats.

These are the most problematic provisions in the SUCCEED Act, including extraneous provisions that will harm businesses and families:

  • The bill requires Dreamers to wait an extremely long period of 15 years before they can apply for citizenship, longer than any other bill. The bill also excludes too many people from protection, including people with non-violent or minor traffic offenses, and in addition subjects those people to expedited removal - a serious violation of due process.
  • The bill excludes the family of those it seeks to protect and likely blocks Dreamers who obtain lawful permanent residence from later sponsoring their children and spouses.
  • The bill severely undermines due process by requiring Dreamers to agree up front when they apply to relinquish nearly all other forms of immigration protection and relief if they violate any term of their status. Completely unrelated to Dreamers, the bill similarly requires nonimmigrants to waive their rights to any relief if they accidentally overstay as little as 24 hours or unintentionally violate the terms of their visa (such as a student who drops just below a full course of study).
  • Also unrelated to Dreamers, the bill restricts the President's parole authority and eliminates existing parole programs that bring medical professionals to the United States, and provide relief to former veterans, military families and other compelling populations for whom humanitarian protection has been deemed necessary by Republican and Democratic presidents.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.