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Social Work Chats: Immigration & the DREAM Act Live Twitter Chat 1/28/13 8PM EST #SWUnited

By: Rachel L. MSW, LMSW

Social Work Chats returns to Twitter Monday January 28th at 8PM (EST).  The topic will be Immigration and the DREAM Act and we will be joined special guest  Melinda K. Lewis, LMSW .

Melinda K. Lewis is an adjunct professor at the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas where she teaches Advanced Policies and Programs and Advanced Advocacy and Community Practice.  She also works as a consultant and lobbyist.  You can read more about Melinda and her work at her fantastic blog, Classroom to Capital.

A Few Points on Immigration and The DREAM Act

In the spring of 2012 President Obama issued a memorandum, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), that directed US Customs and Border Protection, US Citizenship and Immigrations Services, and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use prosecutorial discretion when pursuing cases against undocumented immigrants.  Those requesting consideration under DACA had to meet the following requirements:

  1. Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;

  2. Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;

  3. Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;

  4. Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;

  5. Entered without inspection before June 15, 2012, or your lawful immigration status expired as of June 15, 2012;

  6. Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and

  7. Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

Via Department of Homeland Security

For years there has been a great deal of debate in the US as to how to reform immigration law.  In 2001 Senators Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act or what is more commonly known as the DREAM Act.  The bill has been re-introduced several times since then with the some changes, but the main provisions remain intact: grant permanent status to an undocumented immigrants after they complete two years of college or serve in the military.  The goal is to provide a path for undocumented immigrates who came to the US as children.  You can read more about the DREAM Act form The Immigration Policy Center.

If you want to participate in the chat use #swunited.  You can find more information about the chat, including instructions here.

Further Reading:
Senators Nearing Agreement on Broad Immigration Reform
Immigration Reform: Lawmakers See Overhaul of Immigration System Clearing Congress This Year

Photo Credit: By Carlos (By Carlos G.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Written by Rachel L. West

Rachel L. West is the Founder of the Political Social Worker, a blog dedicated to macro social work and politics. She holds a BA in History from SUNY Stony Brook and an MSW from Adelphi University.

She is a community outreach and engagement specialist. Rachel resides in New York State, and she is available as a consultant and coach. You can find out more about Rachel at The Political Social Worker at (

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