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Momentum Continues to Grow for Dream and Promise Act as Millions Await House Floor Vote

 

Last week, the legislation marking up the Dream and Promise Act passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. Amid the administration’s multiple attempts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and increasing attacks on immigrant populations, these bills will provide not only necessary protections, but also a clear pathway to citizenship for the affected populations.

With the fate of these communities now hanging by temporary court injunctions, Congress must act, vote and pass the Dream and Promise Act now.

Here are key highlights:

Maria Rodriguez, TPS holder in Houston, writes in an op-ed for the Houston Chronicle in support of the bill:

But my future is now uncertain because the Trump administration has decided to take away the status that allows my family and me to stay in the United States and work.

Many people have heard of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was designed for undocumented young people who were brought to this country as children. My situation is different. I’ve been a legal U.S. resident for 18 years — since I was eight years old — after a 2001 earthquake in El Salvador compelled the U.S. government to grant Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Salvadorans. TPS is an immigration designation given to more than 318,000 people from countries deemed unsafe due to war or natural disaster. Yet last year, the Trump administration announced it was seeking to end our status, leaving us vulnerable to deportation as early as next January.

It puts everything I’ve worked for at risk—and could even result in my deportation. So I am relieved the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote in June on the Dream Act and American Promise Act, which would protect young immigrants and offer us a pathway to citizenship.

Special to the Tampa Bay Times, Javier Aldana, an SEIU union member, writes in support of the bill:

Recently, I found myself asking the question that all Americans should consider before jumping into the immigration debate — what if someone threatened to take the life I’ve worked so hard for over the past three decades away?

The answer is the nightmare that undocumented youth and people with Temporary Protected Status have had to confront every day. Since taking office, the Trump administration has embarked on a reckless crusade of demonizing immigrants both in his rhetoric and policy in order to divide everyday Americans and distract working people from the problems he doesn’t want to resolve.

… Currently, our best hope is the Dream and Promise Act, which the House Judiciary Committee passed last week and will be up for a full vote in the U.S. House this summer. It offers Dreamers and people with temporary protected status who call this country home an opportunity to stay here for good through legal permanent residency and a chance to earn citizenship.

Law360 highlights “400 Groups Back Bill Protecting Dreamers And TPS Holders

In a letter to congressional leaders, the organizations — notably including the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the National Immigration Law Center and the NAACP — asserted that only a few court injunctions are protecting the immigrants that would be covered by the bill from being deported and facing imminent separation from their families.

“There are many parts of the immigration system that urgently need fixing, but protecting Dreamers and beneficiaries of TPS and DED cannot wait,” the groups said. “It is long past time to recognize that these individuals are part of the American family and merit protection from deportation, permanent status, and a path to eventual citizenship.”

… “They and their families and communities at long last deserve the peace of mind to be able to plan ahead and make a better life that others take for granted,” the groups said.

Rafael Bernal at The Hill writes in his article “Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval:”

“I think it should be a big part of the debate, because it is so significant for 2.1 million people. I have to admit, I got emotional [Wednesday] night when we passed it,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

With a Democratic majority in the House, the bills are expected to easily pass the chamber, but they are unlikely to move forward in the GOP-controlled Senate.

“It’s going to get a vote on the floor in early June. So we serve it over to the Senate and put the pressure to do the right thing,” said Soto.

Patrick Goodenough for CNS News writes in his article “Cheers Erupt As House Judiciary Committee Approves ‘Path to Citizenship’ Bills:”

To whoops of delight, the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday night voted to advance legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who arrived in the U.S. without legal permission as minors (“Dreamers”) and allow some immigrants with temporary protected status to apply for permanent legal status.

… The vote counts were met by cheers, clapping and fist pumps from members and visitors, while committee chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) banged his gavel, to little effect.

… Nadler called it “a historic day for so many” and hailed as “an incredible achievement” the committee’s approval of the American Promise Act, “which establishes a pathway to permanent residence for individuals covered by TPS and DED programs.”

Washington Monthly’s Nancy LeTourneau reports “Democrats Legislate, While Republicans Demonize, Disrupt, and Delay:”

… the House Judiciary Committee marked up two immigration-related bills that have been referred to as the “Dream and Promise Act.” Together, they would provide a pathway to citizenship for more than 1 million immigrants who were either protected under Obama’s DACA program or have qualified for temporary protected status.

While both bills were ultimately approved by the committee and now head to the floor for a vote, the process, which started at about 9:00 a.m., took eleven hours. That is because the Republicans on the committee did everything they could to disrupt and delay the process with one poison pill amendment after another. For example, Representative Steve Chabot (R-OH) introduced one about immigrants with felony DUI’s. But all felons were already barred from the provisions in the bill.

… While Democrats demonstrated that they can legislate and investigate at the same time, Republicans demonized immigrants in an attempt to disrupt and delay the process of governing.

Public News Service’s Andrea Sears and Dan Heyman report: “House Bills Would Give Millions a Path to Citizenship

Anu Joshi, senior policy director at the New York Immigration Coalition, says the Trump administration’s efforts to end protections for DACA and TPS recipients have thrown their lives into limbo.

“The Dream and Promise Act would be helping to ensure that they could live full, meaningful, healthy lives without living under the threat of deportation,” says Joshi.

… “There’s about 300,000 current TPS recipients, and they have 275,000 U.S.-citizen children,” says Joshi. “So, we’re not just talking about immigrants. We’re talking about U.S.-citizen kids who stand to benefit from this legislation.”