Then there is the Graham-Durbin idea to give legal status to the parents of DREAMers as well. In theory, this would be another two beneficiaries of amnesty for every DREAMer. If you take the outer bound of the DREAMer amnesty at 3 million and add two parents, you get to 9 million. That’s not going to happen. Not every DREAMer is going to have two parents in the country. Parents may not be living or may be ineligible under whatever criteria are established. But it’s not far-fetched to believe that a DREAMer amnesty for 2 million could get as high as an overall amnesty for 5 million.
That is an enormous number. The 1986 amnesty initially covered 2.7 million, and Graham-Durbin could easily eclipse that and come close to matching it just with DREAMers themselves. CBO estimated that the Gang of Eight bill would initially amnesty 8 million people. Graham-Durbin could get more than halfway to the amnesty in what was billed as “comprehensive” immigration reform.
Chain migration will drive the numbers higher over time. Research has found that in recent years every new immigrant brings another 3.45 immigrants on average through chain migration (immigrants from Mexico bring an additional 6.38 on average). The numbers would probably be lower for the DREAMers under Graham-Durbin, since their parents would already be covered, but chain migration would be an accelerant.