Note: The Judiciary ommittee approved all three bills on a party-line vote Thursday evening.
The House Committee on the
Judiciary today marked up legislation to provide permanent legal protections
and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, along with bills addressing the
Trump administration’s rollback of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for people
from countries affected by war and natural disasters.
In a trio of actions, the
committee considered the Dream Act
of 2019 (H.R. 2820), the American
Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 2821), and the Venezuela
TPS Act of 2019 (H.R. 549), as well as amendments to those bills. The
markups were expected to go well into the evening, with votes possibly not
until Thursday. All three are expected to pass. ACE sent a letter to the committee May 21 noting our support of both the Dream Act and American Promise Act.
The legislation as written would allow Dreamers to be eligible for Title IV federal student aid programs and permit certain individuals deported by the Trump administration to apply for relief. It would potentially benefit
millions of Dreamers, including over 700,000 who have been shielded from
deportation under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
President Trump attempted to
rescind DACA in September 2017 but was blocked by a federal appeals court. A series
of subsequent court decisions also have blocked the move. In the latest
ruling just last week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that
the DACA rescission was “arbitrary and capricious” under federal law in part
because the Department of Homeland Security “failed to give a reasoned
explanation” for the change in policy.
In an op-ed
May 21 for Fox News, ACE President Ted Mitchell criticized the time it is
taking to find a solution for Dreamers, who have strong support in Congress and
throughout the country.
“This delay in providing a
solution is particularly frustrating because it should not be this hard. In a
hopelessly divided country, there is rare bipartisan and widespread support
across the country for extending permanent legal protections and a pathway to
citizenship to Dreamers,” he wrote. “A Fox
News poll, conducted shortly after the president announced the DACA
rescission, found 86 percent of registered voters were in favor of granting
work permits and U.S. citizenship to illegal immigrants under the age of 30
brought here as children. A Gallup survey last year found that 83 percent of
Americans, including 75 percent of Republicans, favor or strongly favor a
proposal to allow Dreamers the chance to become U.S. citizens. And newspaper
editorial boards across the ideological spectrum, from The New York Times to The
Wall Street Journal have advocated for protecting Dreamers.”
The president also tried to end
TPS for immigrants from El Salvador, Sudan, Nicaragua, and Haiti but was again
blocked by federal court. The American Promise Act would preserve the TPS
program, while the Venezuela TPS Act would permit citizens of that country to
qualify for TPS for the first time.
White House unveils immigration proposal with no protection for
Dreamers: The House bill is particularly significant in light President
Trump’s latest immigration plan unveiled last week.
The central focus of the proposal, spearheaded by the
president’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, is on reducing
family-based immigration to the United States in favor of skill-based
immigration. It includes six main areas: 1) finishing the border wall; 2)
stemming the flow of low-wage labor; 3) attracting and retaining highly skilled
immigrants; 4) limiting the family members who can come to the country to
children and spouses; 5) importing labor for certain critical industries; and
6) limiting the asylum system.
However, Dreamers are completely missing from the plan, an
issue congressional Democrats have said must be addressed if they are to
consider supporting it.
Mitchell said in a statement
last week that while ACE supports allowing more talented international
students, scholars, and other highly skilled individuals coming into the
country, “we are particularly disappointed that the administration’s plan does
not include protections for Dreamers, a top priority for ACE and all of
American higher education.”