On November 27, 2012, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) introduced the ACHIEVE Act, co-sponsored by Senators Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and John McCain (R-AZ).
The ACHIEVE Act (S. 3639), short for Assisting Children and Helping them Improve their Educational Value for Employment Act, is an alternative to the Democrat-backed DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, S. 952, H.R. 1842).
Both ACHIEVE Act and DREAM Act address the problem of providing immigration status for undocumented children and young adults who were brought to the United States by their parents. Unlike the DREAM Act, ACHIEVE Act does not provide a green card to the beneficiaries but creates instead a “permanent nonimmigrant status”. In addition, ACHIEVE Act restricts eligibility to a more narrow class of individuals than DREAM Act.
Kyl and Hutchison stressed their bill would not allow anyone to move ahead of others applying for citizenship. Rather, an individual could remain in the U.S. while applying through existing programs for citizenship — a significant difference from Senate Democrats’ proposals. “It doesn’t give them a special preference before those who have waited in line for years to get into the citizenship track,” Hutchison said. For that reason, advocacy groups that push for immigration reform criticized the proposal as a half measure that would provide few new opportunities for normalization for young adults.
The ACHIEVE Act would allow individuals who meet the established criteria to obtain a series of conditional nonimmigrant visas designated as W-1, W-2, W-3.