Hispanic Caucus pushes McConnell on 'Dreamer' bill

Hispanic Caucus pushes McConnell on 'Dreamer' bill
© Greg Nash

More than 100 House Democrats, led by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad State and local officials beg Congress to send more election funds ahead of November Teacher's union puts million behind ad demanding funding for schools preparing to reopen MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday to take up a bill that would put certain groups of undocumented immigrants on a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

"Although the Congress is focused every day in leading America’s recovery efforts in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we must concurrently move forward to fulfill this important promise to the approximately 2.6 million individuals who are Americans in every single way except on paper," the Democratic lawmakers wrote in a letter to the Senate GOP leader.

The bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for "Dreamers" — undocumented immigrants who arrived in the country as minors, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries — as well as certain recipients of the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure programs.

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The House passed the legislation, known as the Dream and Promise Act, in June on a largely party-line vote, but the GOP-controlled Senate has not taken up the measure.

The letter to McConnell was spearheaded by CHC Chairman Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), along with the bill's co-authors, Democratic Reps. Yvette ClarkeYvette Diane ClarkeYvette Clarke wins NY House primary The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Wooing voters, Trump autographs Arizona border wall Bowman holds double-digit lead over Engel in NY primary MORE (N.Y.), Lucille Roybal-AllardLucille Roybal-AllardDemocrats offer security bill that prohibits border wall funding Keeping Dreamers, TPS holders in our workforce and communities is essential to the nation's economic recovery The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrat concedes in California House race MORE (Calif.) and Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.).

The lawmakers argued that granting security to Dreamers would benefit the U.S. economy because of the group's contributions to the tax base and that around 300,000 DACA and TPS beneficiaries are considered essential workers.

"In fact, deporting Dreamers could reduce economic growth by $280 billion. As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said, 'Ending DACA would be a nightmare for Dreamers. A nightmare for businesses. A nightmare for America’s economy,'" the lawmakers wrote.

Democrats also highlighted that more than 500,000 minors in the U.S. who have citizenship also have parents who are DACA and TPS beneficiaries.

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"Senators should have the opportunity to permanently keep these families together and legally end the uncertainty they are enduring and ensure their rightful place in this country. It is past time that the Senate join the U.S. House of Representatives in standing in solidarity with Dreamers and TPS holders and pass this common-sense legislation," wrote the Democrats.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpKimberly Guilfoyle reports being asymptomatic and 'feeling really pretty good' after COVID-19 diagnosis Biden says he will rejoin WHO on his first day in office Lincoln Project offers list of GOP senators who 'protect' Trump in new ad MORE in 2017 rescinded DACA, an Obama-era program that allowed nearly 800,000 qualified Dreamers to live and work in the United States. The program has been kept alive through court action following Trump's action.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision before early July on the legality of Trump's order to cancel DACA.

The Trump administration has also targeted TPS, a program that allows foreign nationals to remain in the United States while their countries of origin recover from natural or man-made disasters.

Most TPS designations have been extended until Jan. 4, pending lawsuits against the legality of the administration's moves to end TPS benefits.

Between the two programs, about 1 million people are protected from deportation and granted work permits.