With some bipartisanship from Republicans and Democrats, the United States house with a democratic majority was able to pass the latest version of the DREAM Act, an ambitious effort to expand on a long-lived legislation effort that would place millions of young undocumented immigrants and immigrants on temporary status on a pathway to U.S. citizenship.
The bill has been dubbed the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019 which was approved with 237 votes voting yes and 187 voting no for the bill. Seven Republicans in the House joined 230 Democrats in voting for the bill. No Democrats voted against the measure.
The bill although passing the house is unlikely to even be considered in the Republican-led Senate. The White House has also issued its own threat on the bill with a presidential veto if it was passed by both the senate and house.
The proposal would allow young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, including those shielded from deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an opportunity to obtain permanent lawful status if they meet certain requirements. “The bill would also allow hundreds of thousands of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients — as well as Liberian immigrants covered by Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) — to gain permanent residency” (Montoya-Galvez).
“There hasn’t been a vote on a bill like this since 2010, so it is a big deal,” Bruna Bouhid, a 27-year-old DACA recipient told CBS News, referring to the last time a chamber in Congress passed a version of the DREAM Act, which was first introduced in 2001. “Our communities have been fighting for this for a really long time. You have an administration that proactively killed DACA, TPS, and DED to put these communities at risk of deportation. They’ve been hellbent on using ICE and CBP to go after our communities,” she added.
The bill’s future although short, shows to democrat partisans and the electorate that the Democrat party is still trying to push its own legislation while seeing resistance from the other side and the White House especially. They hope to use these bills as talking points for future elections for democrat party members pushing their agenda.
To be placed on a pathway to citizenship, young undocumented immigrants must earn a college degree or completed two years of a degree program in an institution of higher education or technical school. “They would also qualify if they served honorably in the military or have been employed in the U.S. for more than three years” (Monzalez). DED and TPS recipients, meanwhile, would be able to obtain permanent residency if they have resided in the U.S. for more than three years before the proposed legislation is enacted and if they do not have any felony convictions or more than one misdemeanor. The government currently allows more than 700,000 DACA recipients, commonly referred to as DREAMers, to renew their protections for a period of two years.