- Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
- The House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act, which would significantly expand protections for DACA recipients and other immigrants looking for legal status, including citizenship.
- The bill passed 237-187, with seven Republicans crossing the aisle and joining Democrats.
- The Republican-led Senate is unlikely to take up the legislation.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed an overhaul of the current immigration laws that would grant legal status and a pathway to citizenship to nearly 2.5 million immigrants.
The Dream and Promise Act, which is more sweeping than the original DREAM Act that repeatedly failed during the last Congress under Republican control, would create a very different system for people benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and more.
The bill passed 237-187, with seven Republicans crossing the aisle and joining Democrats.
The Dream and Promise Act hopes to implement several key reforms for DACA recipients, immigrants with temporary protected status, and Deferred Enforced Departure recipients from Liberia.
Under the plan, immigrants benefiting from temporary protected status or Deferred Enforcement Departure could immediately apply for green cards as long as they have been in the US since 2016. After five years with a green card, they could then apply for US citizenship.
For the DACA recipients, who came to the US illegally while they were minors, the process would include first applying for conditional permanent residency. The requirements for that entail entering the US before the age of 18 and having been stateside for the past four years, having no felony criminal record or a combination of three misdemeanors that resulted in more than 90 days of jail time, and having a high-school diploma or GED.
DACA recipients would also be afforded a pathway to citizenship through eventually applying for a green card or in other ways, including military service.
The bill is unlikely to see a vote in the Senate, which is still controlled by Republicans. But the bill’s passage provides a window into how Democrats hope to make significant reforms if they manage to take back the White House and keep their House majority.
The proposals in the bill are much more comprehensive than past attempts to provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients. Attempts to use DACA reforms as a bargaining chip on other legislation repeatedly failed during the last Congress. Now House Democrats are passing standalone packages, which will likely never make it to President Donald Trump’s desk.