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 McConnell (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.

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 Clarke (N.Y.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (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.

“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President Trump in 2017 rescinded DACA, an Obama-era program that allowed nearly 800,000 qualified Dreamers to live and work in the United States.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.

Tags DACA Donald Trump Dreamers Immigration Lucille Roybal-Allard Mitch McConnell TPS undocumented immigrants Yvette Clarke Zoe Lofgren

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