U.S. House Democrats unveiled legislation Tuesday that would protect and provide “Dreamers,” or individuals brought to the country illegally as children, and other immigrants a pathway to citizenship.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, joined Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and other chamber Democrats in announcing “The Dream and Promise Act” during a late-morning Capitol Hill news conference.
The Democratic leader cast the bill, which shields Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients, or “Dreamers,” individuals with Temporary Protected Status and immigrants covered by Deferred Enforced Departure from deportation, as an “historic step to protect patriotic men and women."
Pelosi stressed that such protections, as well as a pathway to citizenship for these immigrants, are needed since President Donald Trump “cruelly gutted DACA and gutted TPS and DED."
“There should be nothing partisan or political in this legislation. Protecting Dreamers and TPS and DED Americans is about honoring and respecting the family that is at the heart of our faith and the heart of who we are as Americans," she told reporters. “We look forward to a strong, bipartisan vote to pass this legislation and safeguard every child and family’s right to pursue their American dream.”
The speaker added that once this legislation is advanced, House Democrats “will fight for a comprehensive fix to our broken immigration system, which embraces the contribution of all of our newcomers.”
Specifically, the proposed bill would allow immigrants who came to the country illegally as children, including DACA recipients, to seek full U.S. permanent residency if they meet certain requirements. It also would let recipients of TPS -- which gives temporary residents to individuals from certain countries affected by war or natural disaster -- and DED to gain permanent lawful status, according to reports.
House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Katherine Clark, D-Melrose, lauded her colleagues for putting forth the legislation.
“Democracy in action- and in song! It’s a good day in the People’s House,” the congresswoman tweeted along with a video from the news conference.
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Boston, meanwhile, said she’s proud to co-sponsor what she called “a critical immigration reform bill that creates a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and TPS recipients.”
“Dreamer and recipients of TPS and DED don’t just call America home. It is their home,” she tweeted. “It’s time to pass H.R. 6, “Protect The Dream,” and give these patriotic Americans a pathway to fully contribute to our country.”
Congresswoman Lori Trahan added that “Dreamers and TPS recipients are essential members of communities across Massachusetts and the country -- working and living alongside us all.”
“We won’t let them be torn away from our communities,” she tweeted.
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition officials, meanwhile, praised the state’s federal lawmakers for standing strong behind the legislation, which builds on the 2010 DREAM Act that failed to clear Congress.
“The Dream and Promise Act is a breath of fresh air,” MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona said in a statement. “It sends a strong message to Dreamers and TPS and DED holders: We know this is your home. We know how much you contribute to this nation – and we stand behind you.”
UFCW International Secretary-Treasurer Esther López, whose national labor coalition represents 20 million workers, called the proposed bill “an important step toward providing stability for so many who have already passed background checks, pay taxes, go to school and work hard every day to build a better future for all of us.”
“They work side by side with us, live in our communities and are dedicated members of our union family and countless others,” she said in a statement. “America was built by generations of immigrants who believed in the promise of this country and worked hard every day to build a better life for their families. Congress must honor that legacy and pass this bill.”
The legislation is expected to face an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate and pushback from Trump, who has repeatedly called for tightening various immigration-related laws.
The White House announced in September 2017 that it would phase out the Obama-era DACA program over six months. Officials argued that the administration was forced to act due to impending legal challenges from Texas and other states.
The U.S. Supreme Court signaled in January that it is unlikely to review legal challenges raised against DACA during its current term, allowing the Obama-era program to remain in place.
Trump’s administration has also drawn legal challenges for ending TPS for individuals from several countries, arguing that conditions have improved to the point that they are safely able to accept returnees.
Orginal story here.