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The “Immigrant Children’s Educational Advancement and Dropout Prevention Act of 2001” was introduced in the House by Representative Luis Gutiérrez. One month later, Gutiérrez’s version of the bill was scrapped in favor of a more limited version entitled “Student Adjustment Act of 2001.”

In August 2001 a mirror bill to the “Student Adjustment Act of 2001” was introduced in the Senate by Dick Durbin and Orrin Hatch entitled The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to the Senate. The DREAM Act was to provide a path to citizenship for immigrant youth brought to the U.S. as children. Since that time the DREAM Act has been introduced in both the Senate and the House at various times and the text of the bill was placed in various other immigration-related bills, including the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 (S. 2611) and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1348).

In September 2007, Durbin filed to place the DREAM Act as an amendment to the 2008 Department of Defense Authorization Bill (S. 2919). On October 18, 2007, Durbin re-introduced the DREAM Act as S. 2205. The act was re-introduced in both chambers of Congress on March 26, 2009. The 111th Congress continued to consider the DREAM Act bill throughout 2010. The DREAM Act, along with a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, was incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2011. On September 21, 2010, the Senate filibuster of the bill was maintained. The following day, Durbin introduced the bill once again and it was defeated again. Less than a month later, on November 16,2011, President Barack Obama and top Democrats pledged to introduce the Dream Act into the House by November 29.

The House of Representatives passed the DREAM Act on December 8, 2010, but the bill failed to reach the 60-vote threshold necessary to end debate on the Senate floor. On May 11, 2011 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unsuccessfully reintroduced the DREAM Act in the Senate.

Finally, on June 15, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that his administration would stop deporting certain Dreamers by Executive Order through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).