U.S. House Passes Significant ‘Dreamer’ Immigration Bill with Potential to Grant Permanent Residency
On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an ambitious immigration bill aimed at providing a path to citizenship to almost 2 million undocumented immigrants, including “Dreamers” who were brought to the United States as children. This bill cancels and prohibits removal proceedings against certain aliens, and provides such aliens with a path toward Legal Permanent Resident status.
The bill, titled American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, would provide a 10-year conditional permanent residency to recipients of the Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and for other qualified young, undocumented, immigrants. To be eligible, immigrants must have been younger than 18 when they came to the U.S., and must have lived in the U.S. continuously over the previous four years. Applicants will also need to possess an American high school diploma or GED, and pass a background check. Applicants who have committed certain crimes would be ineligible under the bill.
Once the applicant receives the 10-year conditional permanent residency, he or she will then be eligible for citizenship if certain elements are met. Specifically, the applicant will need to have earned a college degree or complete two years of a degree program in an institution of higher education or technical school. Alternatively, the applicant will also qualify for citizenship if he or she serves honorably in the military, or has been employed in the U.S. for more than three years. The bill would also grant eligible applicants access to federal financial aid for college. In addition to the permanent residence and citizenship opportunities offered to young undocumented immigrants, the bill also offers protections to
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) recipients. TPS and DED recipients will be eligible for permanent residency if they reside 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. Finally, the bill also contains provisions that would make it more difficult for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to end TPS designations for countries. This is likely in direct response to the Trump Administration’s efforts to terminate TPS protections for more than 300,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan, Nepal and Nicaragua.
While the bill passed the Democrat-controlled house 237 to 187, it will now move on to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is rumored to have little chance of success. Even if the Senate does vote in favor of the bill, the White House has already threatened to veto it. Regardless of the bill’s fate in the Senate however, it is a significant move towards creating protections for young undocumented immigrants, and will almost certainly be a significant issue in the 2020 presidential election.
Stay tuned for the latest update on this Bill. If and when it becomes law, we will be able to help our clients apply for the relief they need under the Act.
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This article is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. This article does not make any guarantees as to the outcome of a particular matter, as each matter has its own set of circumstances and must be evaluated individually by a licensed attorney.
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