A Republican alternative to the DREAM Act creates a path to citizenship for children brought illegally to the U.S. — if they complete a bachelor’s degree. But the STARS (Studying Towards Adjusted Residency Status) Act, introduced by Florida Rep. David Rivera, doesn’t have broad Republican support.
(The bill) would grant alien conditional nonimmigrant status to those who have been in the U.S. at least five years at the time of the bill’s enactment, were brought to the U.S. younger than 16 years old, have earned a high school diploma or GED, have been admitted to an accredited four-year college, and are of “good moral character.”
Upon graduation, a student could apply for a five-year visa renewal, followed by applying for permanent residency and eventually citizenship.
Students who fail to graduate would lose their conditional status.
A separate Rivera bill, the ARMS (Adjusted Residency for Military Service) Act creates a path to citizenship through military service.
By contrast, the DREAM Act requires two years of college — graduation is not required — or two years of military service. That’s a much lower bar.
Most immigrant students who go to college start at a community college. Those who are undocumented aren’t eligible for state or federal aid. Few go on to complete a bachelor’s degree. Of course, STARS might motivate more students to seek a four-year degree, but it ignores other productive paths. Military service would provide another option, but not everyone is healthy enough to serve.