Congressional efforts to legalize unauthorized immigrants who were brought to the United States as children have been pending in Congress since 2001, with the DREAM Act garnering notable bipartisan support over the years. As the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has provided temporary relief from deportation to nearly 800,000 DREAMers, faces a deeply uncertain future, there may be new momentum—and pressure—on Congress to act to grant legal status to a population viewed sympathetically by many on both sides of the political aisle.

MPI researchers find 1.8 million people under the Senate bill unveiled by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) and slightly more than 1 million under the House bill introduced by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) would be immediately eligible to earn conditional legal status because they already have the required high school education.

The estimates presented in this fact sheet are offered to inform policymakers and other stakeholders about the potential reach of the bills examined. Ultimately, it remains to be seen if these legislative proposals can pass Congress amid a highly polarized environment on immigration. At the same time, policymakers now stand at a crossroads as the DACA program's future appears uncertain and hundreds of thousands of recipients could soon find themselves without any protection.

Read the full DACA research fact sheet on Migration Policy Institute