The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the American Dream and Promise Act by 228-197 in its first push on immigration reform under the Biden administration, showing some bipartisan support for such reforms. Nine Republicans joined the Democrats to vote for the bill that not only creates a pathway to citizenship, but also offers access to reduced in-state education higher education fees for about 2.5 million immigrants brought into the U.S. without proper documentation as children and those who with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), coming from countries in crisis.
The bill passed as the Border Patrol reports that it is struggling to cope with an influx of immigrant children at the U.S. southern border, despite the administration’s commitment to a more humane process. A previous version of the Bill was passed by the House with seven Republican votes, so its backers are optimistic that ten Republican senators will back the legislation to reach the 60-vote filibuster-proof threshold for passage in the Senate.
In response to the House passing the Dream & Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, Janet Murguía, president and CEO of UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization, issued the following statement:
“We applaud the House passage of the Dream & Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would both provide a path to citizenship for essential workers and young people who know no other country. These pieces of legislation are not only necessary but also extremely popular. Americans overwhelmingly support relief for DACA recipients, TPS holders, and other undocumented immigrants.
“Today’s passage of the Dream & Promise Act confirms what we knew all along: DREAMers, farmworkers, and TPS holders are vital to our country. They are essential not only to our economy but also as valuable members of our families and communities.
“Farmworkers who have kept American families fed during the pandemic deserve the protections provided to them in the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. They are the epitome of essential and have been long before the arrival of COVID-19. If this bill becomes law, these farmworkers can work without the lingering fear of deportation or without their children having to worry whether their parents will come home from work each night. This legislation would also create stability for our economy when it needs it most, as employers would have an established workforce to rely on. In addition to giving immigrant farmworkers the ability to apply for citizenship, this bill takes important measures to give them fair housing protections, transparency in their recruitment, as well as anti-discrimination provisions that protect their civil rights.
“Both the Dream & Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act are two steps towards the goal of a path to legality for all 11 million undocumented immigrants. We applaud the House in its passage of these bills, and we urge the Senate to pass these bills as soon as possible.”