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Republican Congressman Introduces Military Only DREAM Act

Published: Jan 27, 2012 10:00 am

Republican Congressman David Rivera (25th District of Florida) has introduced a military only version of the DREAM Act.  The legislation is tittled H.R. 3823: Adjusted Residency for Military Service Act, or ARMS Act, and provides a path to legalization for individuals without lawful immigration status that entered the United States as children.

Congressman Rivera describes the legislation as follows:  “This bill provides an opportunity for young people who have established long-standing ties in the United States, and who have a desire to serve our country, to fulfill their goals of serving in the military and achieving the American dream.  If these young people are willing to die for America, then certainly they deserve a chance at life in America.”

Here is the ARMS fact sheet:

The Adjusted Residency for Military Service (ARMS) Act will provide the opportunity to adjust the residency status of individuals who join the United States Armed Forces and meet certain criteria.

ARMS Act applicants are granted conditional non-immigrant status and are not subject to deportation through the Secretary of Homeland Security for five years if the individual filing:  

  • Shows intent to enlist and get accepted into a branch of the United States Armed Forces 
  • Obtained a high school diploma or an equivalent
  • Arrived in the United States before the age of 16
  • Maintained residence in the United States for the preceding five consecutive years
  • Has demonstrated “good moral conduct” as defined by U.S. Code Title 8 Section 1227(a) 

The individual’s non-immigrant status will be revoked if he or she:

  • Does not enlist and get accepted into a branch of the United States Armed Forces within nine months of having their status adjusted
  • Fails to continue demonstrating “good moral conduct”
  • Becomes a public charge as an individual who is primarily dependant on the government for subsistence
  • Receives a dishonorable discharge or other than honorable discharge from the Armed Forces.

Following the initial five year conditional status period, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall extend the individual’s non-immigrant status for an additional five years if he or she:  

  • Has served at least two years on active duty status, or at least four years reserved status, or was otherwise honorably discharged
  • Continues to demonstrate “good moral conduct”
  • Has maintained residence in the United States (absences for military service abroad are excused) Upon receiving the non-immigrant status extension, the conditional non-immigrant may file to have their status changed to permanent resident.  

It will be very interesting to see what the Republicans in the House do with this.

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