Washington, June 5: The House had passed a bill that would offer a path to citizenship to more than 2 million undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers who were brought to the United States as children.
The vote was 237 to 187 for the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which would grant Dreamers 10 years of legal residence status if they meet certain requirements. They would then receive permanent green cards after completing at least two years of higher education or military service, or after working for three years.
The measure would provide long-awaited clarity to the millions of Dreamers who have been caught in legal limbo amid years of partisan maneuvering on the issue. The Obama administration granted work permits to many of them through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, but President Trump ended the program in late 2017. Its fate now rests with the Supreme Court, which may take up the issue in the coming months.
Democrats are proposing the bill as Trump and Republicans argue that more needs to be done to address the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. Mexico border, underscoring that the parties are approaching the issue of immigration overhaul from markedly different perspectives.
Freshman Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., the son of Eritrean refugees, prompted cheers and a standing ovation from Democrats as he quoted former President Ronald Reagan to defend immigration as integral to the fabric of America. He also described Dreamers as young people all across our country who know no other home but the United States.
Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters ahead of that this is legislation that is consistent with who we are as Americans, as an aspirational people, as a nation of immigrants and as a place where people can come to pursue the American Dream.