This past week, members of Congress unveiled the sweeping Dream and Promise Act, aiming to provide permanent protections for Dreamers as well as TPS and DED holders whose lives have been completely upended at the hands of the Trump administration.
Legislators across the country are voicing their support for the act. Below is a round-up of highlights.
Ryan Nicol from FloridaPolitics.com reports on Rep. Mucarsel-Powell’s push to pass the Dream and Promise Act:
U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and several other backers of a new immigration bill in the U.S. House joined together to help lobby for the legislation in a Friday press call.
… “Florida’s 26th District has a large population of Dreamers, [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)] recipients, TPS recipients, and some [Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)] holders as well,” Mucarsel-Powell said.
“As of today, thousands of them are living in limbo. They have placed their roots in this country and it is so imperative that we pass immigration reform so that there can be a path to permanent citizenship.”
… John Feeley, the former U.S. Ambassador to Panama, made the case for the bill on Friday’s call.
“You take someone like that, who has been productive and paid taxes, and you stick them back in a place that only for an accident of birth, that’s fundamentally not American,” Feeley said.
… Philip E. Wolgin, Managing Director of Immigration Policy at the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress, nevertheless pushed for the House to take action.
“The status quo is not tenable,” CAP. “Congress really needs to act not. We cannot wait and this bill cannot wait.”
Monsy Alvarado from the North Jersey Record covered New Jersey legislators’ calls to support the bill:
About 115,000 people in New Jersey would get permanent legal protection as part of a bill to aid more than 2 million undocumented immigrants nationwide, according to proponents of the bill who are pushing for lawmakers to act.
… Eight of New Jersey’s 12 Democratic congressional members signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. They are Rep. Bill Pascrell, Rep. Albio Sires, Rep. Andy Kim, Rep. Tom Malinowski, Rep. Frank Pallone, Rep. Donald M. Payne, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, and Rep. Donald M. Norcross.
… Watson Coleman, of Mercer County, said the bill was a long time coming, and now require their continued effort to gain support across the aisle.
“We know what is right, we know the value of allowing immigrants to stay in this country, undocumented individuals who were brought here at a very young age, individuals who have been contributing to our massive economy, and we are also are well aware of the negative impact on our economy if the Trump administration should be allowed to deport everyone it wants to deport,” she said.
… New Jersey is home to an estimated 14,000 TPS holders, according to state officials. The majority are from El Salvador, Haiti and Honduras, according to figures from the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
… Last week, the administration agreed to permit about 60,000 immigrants from Honduras and Nepal to retain their TPS pending a decision in a separate court case.
Andrea Leonhardt from the Bklyn Reader reports on Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke and Nydia Velazquez’s calls to support the Dream and Promise Act:
The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 is the Congress’ newest version of the DREAM Act, which was first introduced in 2001 to allow Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, to earn lawful permanent residence and American citizenship, if they meet certain requirements.
… “We need comprehensive immigration reform that protects Dreamers, as well as TPS and DED beneficiaries,” said Congresswoman Clarke who represents New York’s 9th Congressional District including Flatbush, East Flatbush, Brownsville, Crown Heights and Prospect Heights. “The Dream and Promise Act will include a path to citizenship for Dreamers, as well as for people covered by Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure.”
… The designation was awarded after the devastating 2010 earthquake which left over 200,000 people dead and some 895,000 Haitians homeless. The program’s termination affects 50,000 people across the country, according to the New York Immigration Coalition, including approximately 5,200 individuals in New York. Brooklyn is home to the largest Haitian population outside of Florida.
… “For two years, the Trump Administration has viciously targeted some of our most vulnerable immigrant communities creating a climate of uncertainty and fear,” said Velázquez who represents New York’s 7th Congressional District including Bushwick, East New York and Williamsburg. “Whether it is Dreamers who arrived here as children, or TPS or DED recipients who came here fleeing desperate conditions, we need to make clear to these immigrants — our friends and neighbors — that we stand with them, and they are here to stay.”
Vandana Ravikumar at the State Press writes on Arizona Democratic lawmakers’ co-sponsoring the bill:
Democratic members of Arizona’s congressional delegation were among over two hundred House Democrats who co-sponsored legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for thousands of immigrants.
“Hundreds of thousands of hard working young people stand to benefit from this important bill,” Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Phoenix, said in a press release on Tuesday. “When our Dreamers succeed, our communities will be stronger.”
… The Dream and Promise Act, introduced Tuesday, comes eighteen years after the original Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or the DREAM Act, which has been re-introduced into Congress multiple times but has continually failed to pass. The DREAM Act proposed a process for immigrants brought to the country as children, or “Dreamers,” that would grant conditional or eventually permanent residency in the U.S.
… “It is now up to my Republican colleagues and President Trump to support this solution, which is the least they can do after Trump heartlessly ended the programs and created this problem in the first place,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Tucson, in a statement.
… Others said that the bill is likely to face obstruction from Republicans in Congress.
“I think the challenge we still have, at both the Arizona state level and the U.S. Senate level, and with President Trump, is the Republican willingness to demonize even DACA students as ‘illegals,'” said Bill Scheel, a founding partner at Phoenix political consultancy firm Javelina, referring to recipients of the DACA program.