Speaker Pelosi, Reps. Roybal-Allard, Velázquez, and Clarke Introduce Dream and Promise Act to Protect Dreamers and Recipients of TPS and DED
Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) and Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Nydia Velázquez (NY-07), and Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09) announced the introduction of H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act. Speaker Pelosi has the power to assign the bill numbers H.R. 1 through H.R. 10 for this Congress, and the Dream and Promise Act’s designation as H.R. 6 underscores its status as a priority of the House Majority. The bill is the 116th Congress’s version of the Dream Act, a bill which has been introduced since 2001 to allow the U.S.-raised immigrant youth known as “Dreamers” to earn lawful permanent residence and American citizenship. However, H.R. 6 includes protections and a path to citizenship not just for Dreamers, but also for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries. Speaker Pelosi and the bill’s three co-authors, Congresswomen Roybal-Allard, Velázquez, and Clarke, announced H.R. 6 today at a press event with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD-05), Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Congressman Mark Takano (CA-41), fellow House Democrats, and Dreamer and TPS individuals covered by the legislation. 204 House Members have signed on to H.R. 6.
“As a co-author of the original Dream Act, and as the congresswoman for the district with the nation's largest Dreamer population, it is a privilege to lead today’s introduction of the Dream and Promise Act,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. “I have seen firsthand the love that our Dreamers have for our country. They are our neighbors and colleagues who help strengthen our communities. They are students, scientists, researchers, and small business owners. Our Dream and Promise Act recognizes the contributions and patriotism of Dreamers, TPS recipients, and DED beneficiaries by helping them stay in America, pursue a path to citizenship, and keep strengthening our great country. I look forward to fighting for the passage of this pivotal legislation in the House, and making it the law of the land.”
“For two years, the Trump Administration has viciously targeted some of our most vulnerable immigrant communities creating a climate of uncertainty and fear,” said Congresswoman Velázquez. “Whether it is Dreamers who arrived here as children or TPS or DED recipients who came here fleeing desperate conditions, we need to make clear to these immigrants – our friends and neighbors – that we stand with them and they are here to stay. I’m proud to join with my colleagues, Congresswomen Roybal-Allard and Yvette Clarke, in introducing this legislation, which would provide these communities with protections under the law and a path toward citizenship.”
“We need comprehensive immigration reform that protects Dreamers, as well as TPS and DED beneficiaries,” said Congresswoman Clarke. “That’s why I am proud to be a co-lead on the Dream and Promise Act (HR 6). This bill will include a path to citizenship for Dreamers, as well as for people covered by Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure. This bill builds upon the Dream Act, the American Promise Act, and the ASPIRE TPS Act, which I introduced last Congress.”
“Today, House Democrats are taking an important step forward to provide relief to Dreamers and those with TPS and DED,” said Leader Hoyer. “I’m proud to cosponsor legislation introduced by Reps. Roybal-Allard, Velázquez, and Clarke, H.R. 6, which would remove the threat of deportation and provide a pathway to citizenship. I look forward to passing this legislation on the House Floor following committee consideration and sending it to the Senate. Congress and this Administration must meet its responsibility and take action to protect Dreamers and TPS recipients.”
“Despite the difficulties they have faced without immigration status, for Dreamers and TPS recipients, this country is their home,” said Congresswoman Lofgren. “With the support of their families, friends, and communities, they have chased their dreams. However, due to the Trump Administration’s efforts to halt these programs, these individuals’ futures remain very uncertain. Today’s legislation aims to eradicate that uncertainty by creating a future where Dreamers and long-term TPS/DED recipients can finally have the peace of mind that comes with lawful permanent status. I am proud to support this legislation and the individuals it protects.”
“America is a promise – a promise of freedom, justice, and opportunity – and to be an American is not defined by your immigration status, but by a set of values we all share,” said Congressman Takano. “Dreamers and TPS recipients are emblematic of what it means to be an American – to play by the rules, contribute to our society, work hard, and serve our country. The Dream and Promise Act will give Dreamers and TPS recipients the opportunity to continue building their lives, raising their families, and contributing to their communities in the country that is now their home. By introducing this legislation, our friends and neighbors know that they are welcome here – by passing it, we will show our immigrant communities that we have the political courage to stand up for them. Thank you to my colleagues for working on this important issue, together we will ensure that Dreamers and TPS recipients are here to stay.”
“I am very proud and grateful to be part of a historic moment in our community's struggle for representation,” said Jesica Garcia, a Dreamer from Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s 40th Congressional District; Ms. Garcia spoke at today’s press event. “This moment means hope and a chance to live life without hesitation, fear, and uncertainty. I want to develop my full potential as an educator and feel like I belong. The promise of permanency in the United States means I am part of something great and I will no longer need to hide.”
“I’ve been here for 20 years, always working hard and paying taxes just like anybody else. My son is 14 years old, he needs me, I need him and we both deserve to stay here,” said Hever Gálvez, a TPS holder and Maryland resident from El Salvador whose son has U.S. citizenship; Mr. Gálvez also spoke at today’s press event. “In El Salvador, there are gangs on every corner, in every city, watching me daily. There are no jobs and I could be killed at any time.”
A fact sheet about the bill is here, and the text of that fact sheet is below:
H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act of 2019
Congresswomen Lucille Roybal-Allard,
Nydia Velázquez, and Yvette Clarke
The Dream and Promise Act allows Dreamers and individuals with TPS and DED to contribute fully in the country they love and know to be their home by providing a pathway to citizenship.
Title I: Protecting America’s Dreamers
The Dream and Promise Act would grant Dreamers conditional permanent resident status for 10 years, and cancel removal proceedings if they:
• Have been continuously physically present in the U.S. for 4 years preceding the date of the enactment of the bill;
• Were 17 years old or younger on the initial date of entry into the U.S.;
• Are not inadmissible on the following grounds: criminal, security and terrorism, smuggling, student visa abuse, ineligibility for citizenship, polygamy, international child abduction, unlawful voting, or former citizens who renounced citizenship to avoid taxation; and have not participated in persecution;
• Other than a state offense for which an essential element is the person’s immigration status or a minor traffic violation, have not been convicted of:
o any federal or state offense punishable by a term of imprisonment of more than 1 year;
o 3 or more federal or state offenses for which the person was convicted on different dates and imprisoned for an aggregate of 90 days or more;
o a crime of domestic violence (unless the applicant is a victim themselves of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, child abuse or neglect, elder abuse or neglect, or human trafficking, has been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty, or has been a victim of criminal activity); and
• Graduate from high school, obtain a GED or industry recognized credential, or are in a program assisting students in obtaining a high school diploma, GED or equivalent exam, or in an apprenticeship program.
• Pass security and law enforcement background checks, pay a reasonable application fee, and register for the Selective Service if required.
In order to gain full lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, Dreamers must:
• Acquire a degree from a U.S. institution of higher education; or complete at least two years in good standing in a bachelor’s or higher degree program or in an area career and technical education program at a post-secondary level in the U.S.; or
• Complete at least two years of military service, and if discharged, received an honorable discharge; or
• Be employed for periods of time totaling at least three years and at least 75 percent of the time that the person has had employment authorization.
The bill also includes a number of provisions for Dreamers, including:
• Repealing Section 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, which penalizes states that grant in-state tuition to undocumented students on the basis of residency;
• Allowing Dreamers to access federal financial aid;
• Ensuring that individuals with conditional permanent resident status are able to access professional, commercial, and business licenses; and
• Permitting eligible Dreamers deported from the United States by the Trump Administration to apply for relief from abroad.
Title II: A Path Forward for TPS and DED Recipients
The Dream and Promise Act would grant individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) LPR status and cancel removal proceedings if they:
• Have been in the United States for a period of 3 years before the Act’s enactment; and
• Were eligible or had TPS on September 25, 2016 or had DED status as of September 28, 2016.
The bill amends current TPS law to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide an explanation of a decision to terminate a TPS designation and requires the Secretary must provide a report 3 days after publishing a notice of such termination. This report must explain the original designation and any progress made by a country to resolve the issues leading to TPS designation. The Secretary also has to describe the qualitative and quantitative methods used to assess whether or not country conditions have improved, which would include addressing any challenges or shortcomings related to the initial designation.
The bill also clarifies that an immigrant entering the TPS program will be considered as having been inspected and admitted into the United States.
Title III: Additional General Provisions
The bill also sets forth a number of provisions that protect Dreamers and individuals with TPS or DED during their application for relief. These include:
• Ensuring the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General may not remove a person who appears prima facie eligible for cancellation of removal and conditional permanent residence.
• Requiring the Secretary to provide a reasonable opportunity to apply for relief to a person subject to removal who requests such an opportunity or who appears prima facie eligible.
• Providing a fee exemption for individuals under the age of 18, received an income that is less than 150% of the poverty line, are in foster care or lacking familiar support, or who cannot care for themselves due to a serious, chronic disability.
• Permitting individuals with a pending application an employment authorization document and to apply for advance parole.
• Permitting the Secretary to waive select inadmissibility bars and crimes of domestic violence for humanitarian purposes, family unity, or if the waiver is otherwise in the public interest.
• Strengthening administrative and judicial review procedures for individuals denied benefits under this Act.
• Ensuring the confidentiality of information of applicants and prohibiting DHS from using information provided during the application for immigration enforcement.
• Establishing a new grant program to assist nonprofits in screening individuals for eligibility and assisting in their application for relief under this bill.