As a firm founded by immigrants, we actively advocate for relief for immigrants from all walks of life, and we are always watching for signs of legislative change. This week, we are excited to report that The American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) seems to be gaining momentum under the Biden Administration.
H.R. 6, originally introduced in 2019, would provide a path to citizenship for 2.5 million “Dreamers”, brought to the U.S. as children a pathway to citizenship, provided they meet certain eligibility requirements after five years. This bill also includes recipients of temporary protected status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). In total, this bill could provide a path to citizenship to nearly 4.5 million people. Sponsor Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard called the bill “a major step in ending the veil of fear and uncertainty that has plagued the lives of our Dreamers for far too long.”
This bill was reintroduced in the House last Thursday as a part of President Biden’s Sweeping Immigration Bill that was introduced in February 2021. Some Democrats hope to garner support for portions of President Biden’s immigration reform as opposed to one sweeping bill. The Dream Act passed the House 228-197 and will now be sent to the Senate. 9 Republicans voted in favor of The Dream Act in the House. We are cautiously optimistic that this bipartisan legislation will have enough support to pass. Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) announced Sunday that he believes he is close to getting the Senate votes needed to pass the Dream Act.
A recent survey by Pew Research Group found that “the public broadly supports providing a path to citizenship for immigrants brought to the country unlawfully as children.” In 2019, the Dream Act passed in the House with seven GOP votes. While we do expect comprehensive immigration reform from the Biden Administration and expect that immigrant advocates will hold President Biden to his campaign promises, passing smaller bills may have a strategic advantage in this instance.
On March 3rd, over 100 major corporations, professional associations, and advocacy groups signed a letter in support of The Dream Act, including Google, Johnson & Johnson, and Salesforce, to name a few. The open letter to Senate Majority Leader Schumer and former Senate Majority Leader McConnell emphasized the critical role these immigrants play in America’s workforce. They stated, “Studies by economists across the ideological spectrum also have determined that if Congress fails to act, our economy could lose $350 billion in GDP, and the federal government could lose $90 billion in tax revenue.”
“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 200,000 DACA recipients are ‘essential critical infrastructure workers.’ Among these essential workers are 41,700 DACA recipients in the health care industry. It would be an American tragedy to deport these brave and talented essential workers in the midst of this pandemic.”
At McEntee Law, we stand with Dreamers and have advocated alongside them in their years-long struggle for relief. The economic value they bring to the U.S. is quantifiable and undeniable, and so is their humanity. We would be remiss to omit the fact that Dreamers are members of mixed-status households who live with painful uncertainty every day, or the fact that Dreamers aren’t kids anymore. They are essential workers and frontline heroes. They are parents of over 250,000 U.S. citizen children. They are our colleagues, neighbors, and friends. They deserve relief from the constant court battles that threaten their futures in the only country that most of them have ever known. Dreamers deserve to sleep soundly knowing that their dreams won’t be deferred or derailed.
We are hopeful that Dreamers will receive a path to relief under this administration, and we are hopeful that this is just the beginning.
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