CHN: Bills Introduced in Senate Would Provide Protections for Dreamers and TPS Recipients

A bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate on March 26 that would create a path to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) beneficiaries, also known as Dreamers. Introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL), the Dream Act would allow Dreamers to earn Lawful Permanent Resident status and eventually citizenship if they came to the country as children, graduated from high school or earned a GED, and pursued college, military service, or at least three years of employment, along with other requirements.

Also on March 26, Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Tim Kaine (D-VA) introduced the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act. This legislation would allow qualified Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients to apply for legal permanent residency.

As reported in the March 18 Human Needs Report, Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY) on March 12 introduced the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which includes elements of both Senate bills. H.R. 6 would provide a pathway to lawful permanent residency and citizenship for Dreamers and provides a pathway to permanent legal protections for immigrants with TPS and DED status. All told, the bill would reportedly protect more than 2 million people from deportation. To date, 226 House members have signed on to H.R. 6, all Democrats. The National Immigration Law Center, UnidosUS, the Center for Law and Social Policy, and other organizations issued statements supporting the Dream and Promise Act and encouraging its swift passage in Congress.

The latest reports are that H.R. 6 will be taken up in committee the last week in April or early in May and will quickly move to the House floor. Neither of the Senate bills are expected to move before the House takes action on its bill. For more information on H.R. 6, see this piece from the National Immigration Law Center.

The TPS and DED programs have protected refugees who fled war, natural disasters, and other life-threatening events in their home countries from deportation. President Trump has tried to end the DACA program and terminate TPS for individuals from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador, but federal courts have thus far blocked him from doing so. Complying with a court injunction, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Feb. 28 that it was extending TPS for more than 250,000 immigrants from those four countries through Jan.  2, 2020. Immigrant advocates also filed a federal lawsuit in February to block the Trump Administration from ending TPS for people from Nepal and Honduras. DED protections for individuals from Liberia, set to expire on March 31, were extended by President Trump for one year on March 28.

Dream Act