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House Approves Dream Act, Sending Bill to Senate

June 05, 2019

students walking on campus

Bill would give young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children a pathway to citizenship

​The House yesterday passed the latest version of the Dream Act, an effort to place millions of young undocumented immigrants—many of whom are college students—and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) on a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

The Democratic-led chamber approved the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6) by a vote of 237 to 187, with seven Republicans joining 230 Democrats in voting for the bill. ACE and 40 higher education groups sent a letter to all members of the House, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) before the vote, expressing their strong support for passage. 

The bill would give young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, including those shielded from deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a pathway to permanent legal status for 10 years if they meet certain requirements. DACA allowed young undocumented immigrants to become eligible for a work permit, a Social Security card, a driver’s license, and deferred deportation. The Trump administration rescinded the policy Sept. 5, 2017, but it has been kept alive by court decisions ever since. 

To be eligible for legal status under H.R. 6, immigrants must have been younger than 18 when they came to the United States and must have lived in the country continuously over the previous four years. They must also have an American high school diploma or GED and pass a background check. Those who have committed serious crimes would be ineligible.

To be placed on a pathway to citizenship, these young immigrants must earn a college degree or complete two years of a degree program in a higher education institution or technical school, served in the military, or have been employed in the United States for more than three years. 

The legislation would also extend protections to immigrants with TPS and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) who have seen their status terminated and left in uncertain limbo. Many campuses have students and employees who have lived, worked, and studied while under TPS and DED, and ACE also supports the inclusion of protections for this population in this legislation.

The bill now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate, which is unlikely to consider it. The White House has also issued a veto threat​ against the measure. ​

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