Bill To Provide Path To Citizenship For Dreamers Approved By Democrat-Led House, Faces Death In GOP-Controlled Senate
On Tuesday, the House reintroduced and passed legislation to provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers who are brought to the United States as children.
The bill, called the Dream and Promise Act, was approved along largely partisan lines. Nearly all Democrats voted for the legislation, with five not voting. The Democratic majority was joined by seven Republicans.
The bill is a response to President Donald Trump‘s hard-line immigration agenda. In recent months, Trump and his top officials have pressed Congress, unsuccessfully, for billions of dollars to build a border wall and to change the asylum and detention laws to discourage the arrival of migrants from Central America.
The new bill would allow an estimated 2.3 million undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to apply for legal status and eventual citizenship, according to an analysis by Migration Policy Institute. Under this measure, the population eligible for legalization would include 673,000 people who were previously covered by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The bill also would offer legal status to more than 400,000 people covered by Temporary Protected Status, a humanitarian program that allows people to remain in the country and work legally if their home countries suffer from natural disasters, armed conflicts or other events.
But the Republican-controlled Senate appears adamant in not taking up the measure, where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has pledged to block the measure. The White House Office of Management and Budget said in a letter that the bill “would only exacerbate illegal immigration and the exploitation of our immigration laws by incentivizing more illegal behavior.”
The OMB urged the president to veto it.
Liberal groups fired back, stating the measure would stimulate economic growth in the long term. In 2017, the Center for American Progress noted that a bill legalizing Dreamers would increase gross domestic product by $281 billion over 10 years.