Today, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) introduced the American Hope Act of 2017, a bill that would protect Dreamers from deportation by putting them on the path to permanent legal status and eventually citizenship. The bill has 117 co-sponsors, which was said to be the greatest number of Congressional supporters on an immigration measure, ever.
At a press conference, Gutierrez was joined by an array of Democratic House leaders, members of the Hispanic Caucus, and members of the House Judiciary Committee. Standing up with him were Democratic Leader Pelosi, Democratic Whip Hoyer, and Reps. Crowley, Castro, Roybal-Allard, Lofgren, Chu, Grijalva, Kihuen, and Veasey.
The American Hope Act would allow young immigrants who arrived in the US before their 18th birthday and before December 31, 2016 an opportunity to apply for legal status if they met certain requirements. If approved, they would receive a form of conditional legal status that would allow them to legally live and work in the US for three years, after which they’d be eligible for legal permanent resident status. Those who already have DACA would be able to count their DACA-mented time toward their three years of conditional legal status. The bill is separate from the House Dream Act of 2017, introduced this week by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA).
As Rep. Gutierrez said during today’s bill introduction:
DACA is under threat and we know that President Trump and the Attorney General, if he is still in office, will not lift a finger to defend DACA. This will replace the order in the lives of these young people with chaos. It will replace the hope they have for their futures with despair. It substitutes cruelty for their aspirations and the aspirations of our entire immigrant population. All of us here support DACA. We fought for DACA and we will defend DACA. And the defense includes putting on the table legislation that charts a way forward.