Immigration Advocates Celebrate House Vote on Dream and Promise Act

House of Representatives voted by wide margin to pass H.R. 6 and create a roadmap to legal residency and citizenship for Dreamers, and TPS and DED recipients

New York, NY– Today, the House of Representatives voted 237-187 for H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, which would put more than two million immigrants brought to the United States as youth and recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) on a road to permanent residency and citizenship.

Steve Choi, Executive Director, New York Immigration Coalition issued the following statement:

“We’re grateful for the continued leadership of our New York representatives who co-sponsored the Dream and Promise Act and the entire NY Democratic delegation who never turned their backs on over 80,000 New Yorkers. Passing this bill is an essential tool in the fight against Trump’s xenophobic agenda—extending substantive, permanent protections to Dreamers, and DACA, TPS, and DED recipients who, for the past 21 months, have lived in a state of fear and precarity. This victory is an important first step in providing a sense of security and pathway to citizenship for more than two million immigrants who call America home.”

Background

The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 would allow those who came to this country at 17 or younger, and who meet certain school or work requirements and pass a criminal background check (among other qualifications) to apply for a conditional permanent residency status. After completing further work or school requirements, individuals with this conditional permanent residency status would be able to apply for legal permanent residence (LPR) status.

Additionally, the bill would allow those who had or who were eligible for Temporary Protected Status or Deferred Enforced Departure as of September 2016 and who have been in the country continuously for at least three years to apply for LPR status. After a period of five years in LPR status, both groups would be eligible to apply for citizenship.

Eighteen months ago, then U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the Trump administration would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. In the interim, Congress debated many proposals to provide a permanent legislative solution to ensure DREAMers would continue to be protected. Ultimately, lacking strong leadership and the willingness to put people over politics, Congress failed to act.

However, since then, three federal Circuit Court judges have ruled that the Trump administration ended DACA unlawfully and issued national injunctions requiring U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to continue accepting renewal applications.

Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure are designations afforded to nationals of countries experiencing humanitarian crisis such as violent conflict, environmental disasters, or epidemics that would prevent nationals from returning safely. As of today, there are an estimated 325,000 TPS and DED recipients living in the United States, representing ten countries: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Over 30,000 TPS recipients reside in New York. Since President Trump assumed office, the Department of Homeland Security has terminated TPS and DED for over 99 percent of those protected by the programs.

In October of 2018, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Sudan, and Haiti. In his decision, Judge Chen specifically noted that “circumstantial evidence of race” seemed to be “a motivating factor” in the Administration’s termination of TPS, and that the series of events leading up to the decision suggest “a predetermined outcome not based on an objective assessment."


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