"Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform have urged the President and Congress to pursue reform legislation. While prospects for comprehensive reform--especially for proposals including large-scale legalization of unauthorized aliens--may have dimmed since the November 2010 elections, some supporters are advocating passage of more limited legislation to address the status of unauthorized alien students. Such legislation is commonly referred to as the '(Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.' Unauthorized aliens in the United States are able to receive free public education through high school. They may experience difficulty obtaining higher education, however, for several reasons. Among these reasons is a provision enacted in 1996 that prohibits states from granting unauthorized aliens certain postsecondary educational benefits on the basis of state residence, unless equal benefits are made available to all U.S. citizens. This prohibition is commonly understood to apply to the granting of 'in-state' residency status for tuition purposes. Unauthorized alien students also are not eligible for federal student financial aid. More broadly, as unauthorized aliens, they are not legally allowed to work and are subject to being removed from the country. […] DREAM Act bills (S. 952, H.R. 1842) have again been introduced in the 112th Congress, but it is unclear whether such legislation will be considered. This report will be updated as legislative developments occur."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33863