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Senate Judiciary Holds Hearing on the “American Dream and Promise Act”

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Today, on the 9th anniversary of DACA, the Senate Judiciary held a committee hearing on H.R.6, the “American Dream and Promise Act of 2021.” 

Senator Durbin, a long-time champion for Dreamers, opened the hearing highlighting the tremendous impact that DACAmented individuals have on our country. However, in the nine years since the creation of DACA nothing has changed for its recipients as it remains a temporary program filled with uncertainty regarding future status. Senator Durbin demanded that Congress pass the “American Dream and Promise Act,” to put an end to the limbo status of DACA, TPS, and DED-holders.

Senator Padilla joined this sentiment, emphasizing that Dreamers, TPS holders, and others have waited too long for a permanent solution, and many have stood at the frontlines of the pandemic without a path to citizenship.   

As always, Senator Cornyn followed his usual pattern of disappointment as he once again reminded the committee that he supports DACA but does not believe in creating a pathway to citizenship for its recipients. This is a long-time pattern of Senator Cornyn’s classic “Cornyn Con,” in which he pretends to support immigrants until it’s time to vote on reform. 

The witnesses before the committee were the main highlight of the hearing, as they explained the dire need to assure their safety and that of their fellow undocumented family members and friends. Dr. Manuel Bernal Mejia, a resident at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Chicago who saves lives every day in his role, explained that his future remains uncertain as a DACA recipient. 

In his witness statement, Honorable Leon Rodriguez reiterated that DACA was only meant as a stopgap measure and that we are well “past the time to implement a durable solution to the situation of the Dreamers that enables them to fully contribute to U.S.”

Mr. Rony Ponthieux, a TPS holder and registered nurse at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami Gardens, FL, has worked through the COVID-19 pandemic, making sure that American lives are protected. Yet, Mr. Ponthieux does not have permanent protection with TPS: 

It is time for Congress to create a permanent solution and stop extending temporary programs that ultimately halt actual change. Undocumented individuals have started families, engaged with their communities, and helped individuals regardless of their status, despite not being entitled to the full rights of citizenship. It is time to pass the “Dream and Promise Act” to finally give this community peace of mind and freedom.