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A House Republican has introduced an alternative to the Dream Act that would allow undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to remain in the country legally if they have been accepted by a four-year college.

The Stars Act, introduced on Wednesday by Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., does not offer the undocumented students a direct path to citizenship, but it does not bar them from applying for a skilled labor visa if they find work after graduating.

The legislation is similar to that touted by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., earlier this year. Rubio, a possible running mate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is expected to unveil similar legislation in the Senate later this year.

Under Rivera's bill, students would be eligible to stay in the U.S. for five years while they attend college. Students could apply to extend the visa for five more years, if they graduate.

To be eligible, young people must have lived in the country for at least five years and must have arrived before age 16.

Rivera's bill differs from the Dream Act, which failed to pass the Senate in 2010. That bill offered undocumented young people brought to the country as children a path to citizenship if they attend college or joined the military.

Earlier this year, Rivera introduced legislation that would offer legal status to young undocumented immigrants who join the military. 

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

This article is part of our Next America: Communities project, which is supported by a grant from Emerson Collective.

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