How DREAMers came to dominate U.S. politics

The Dreamer movement came of age during the Obama administration. But legislation to build a path to citizenship was introduced to Congress in 2001.

Two senators – Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican – introduced the first Dream Act in August that year, a month before 9/11.

But after the attacks, as concerns over national security and terrorism dominated public life, the immigration debate shifted sharply. The bill stalled. It was reintroduced several times, without success.

Nonetheless, the Dreamers continued to galvanize public support. They escalated their tactics, staging sit ins and actions that risked arrest.