The DREAM and Promise Act was introduced on Tuesday, March 12 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 202 cosponsors. It takes 218 votes to pass the House. The bill addresses two issues: the fate of young people referred to as “DREAMERS” or DACA, (Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals) young people; and protects the legal residents who have been granted a legal temporary protected status (TPS) due to threatening conditions in their county.
In the previous week the House Judiciary Committee took up the subject of TPS which is granted by the Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security to eligible foreign-born individuals, who are unable to return home safely due to conditions or circumstances preventing them from returning to their country. The Trump administration terminated TPS designations for six countries in 2019, and three more expire in 2020. Liberian TPS & DED recipients only have less than 20 days left to be in the country before being deported. There are less than 1000 Liberians who have lost their protections in the U.S. The Washington Post recently described one family being forced to leave the U.S. despite growing up here with roots in this country that can be traced to Civil War America.
The legislation would grant individuals with TPS and LPR status a stay and cancel removal proceedings if they: have been in the United States for a period of 3 years before the bill’s enactment; they were eligible or had TPS on September 25, 2016; or had Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) status as of September 28, 2016. In addition Homeland Security would have to provide an explanation of a decision to terminate a TPS designation and it requires the Secretary to provide a report 3 days after publishing a notice of such termination. This report must explain the original designation and any progress made by a country to resolve the issues leading to TPS designation. This is all part of Tittle II of the legislation.
Title I of the legislation deals with the more familiar DREAMERS. DREAMERS would receive conditional permanent resident status for 10 years and cancel 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 DREAMERS 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 a 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.
A factsheet on the DREAM and Promise Act, HR 6, is here.