A step in the right direction today for the ‘Dreamers’ immigration bill, known as the Dream and Promise Act, which passed the House today by a vote of 228-197.  This bill would create a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.  The bill had bipartisan support, but it will still likely face an uphill battle in the Senate. It remains to be seen whether there is enough support to pass the legislation in the Senate which is more evenly divided. In order for the bill to pass, all Democrats and at least 10 Republicans would need to vote for the legislation for it to become law. The House passed the legislation in 2019, when seven Republicans voted with Democrats to support the bill. However, it wasn’t brought up in the GOP-led Senate at the time.

This time around, nine Republicans voted for the bill. The Biden administration endorsed the bill earlier Thursday, and urged all members of the House to vote for the legislation.  Under the proposal, about 2.5 million “Dreamers” would qualify for the pathway to citizenship. Currently, no process to citizenship for “Dreamers” exists.  It would grant conditional permanent resident status for 10 years and cancel removal proceedings if people meet certain requirements. Those requirements include being physically present in the U.S. on or before Jan. 1, 2021, being 18 years old or younger on the initial date of entry into the U.S. and not having been convicted of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault or human trafficking.  Under the Bill, “Dreamers” could gain full lawful permanent resident status by either acquiring a degree from a university or college, completing at least two years of military service or being employed for at least three years where they had employment authorization for 75% of the time they were employed.  The bill includes protections and a pathway to citizenship for individuals who were eligible for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) on or before Sept. 17, 2017, and individuals who had Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) status as of Jan. 20, 2021. Individuals who are beneficiaries of either of those programs and have been in the U.S. for three years before the act’s enactment are eligible for the protections and pathway to citizenship.