On Tuesday June 4, the House of Representatives passed HR 6, the Dream and Promise Act by a vote of 237 yes votes and 187 nays. The vote totals included all Democrats and 7 Republicans.
The legislation was voted out of committee on May 22 shortly before the Memorial Day break. It includes protection for young people brought into the country by their parents at a young age. It also extends protections for current immigrants in the country under a legal temporary protected status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DEF) due to threatening conditions in their county. The Administration has attempted to remove the protection for these immigrants including a large number of Venezuelans who have been here for more than two decades.
According to the Center on American Progress up to 2.5 million immigrants across the country could be eligible for protection under the Dream and Promise Act. That organization has also created state fact sheets that include data on the number of immigrants eligible for the protection, federal, state and local tax contributions by Dream-eligible immigrant families, and cities and counties with sizable TPS or DEF populations. In addition, working with the University of Southern California, they have developed an interactive Congressional map.
In March the DREAM and Promise Act was introduced by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), with Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Congresswoman Yvette Clarke (D-NY) as the lead sponsors out of a total of 232 cosponsors. The House action represents the first time either House has passed a Dreamers bill with a path to citizenship since the Senate passed a bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill (S 744) of 2013. That legislation went to the House but Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) refused to take it or any immigration legislation up for consideration. This year there has been some support for a bipartisan DREAMERS bill in the Senate, with Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) introducing a version of the Dream Act, but the President’s position would likely require his own set of conditions and restrictions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) offered remarks later in the week saying he was unlikely to take up the House bill.
Dreamers would receive conditional permanent resident status and cancelation of removal proceedings if they: have been continuously physically present in the U.S. for 4 years preceding the date of the enactment of the bill; were 17 years old or younger on the initial date of entry into the U.S.; are not inadmissible as a result of criminal, security and terrorism, smuggling, student visa abuse, ineligibility for citizenship, polygamy, or several other conditions.
As in previous bills, they must meet certain minimum education requirements such as high school or GEDs. To gain full lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, Dreamers would have to get a degree from an institution of higher education; or complete at least two years in good standing in a bachelor’s or higher degree program or in an area career and technical education program at a post-secondary level in the U.S.; or complete two years of military service with an honorable discharge. The bill would also offer a path to citizenship.