Immigration Law

House passes bill that provides immigrant youths path to citizenship

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation Tuesday that could provide a path to legal status and citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and other young immigrants who are living in the United States without documentation.

The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 is “consistent with American ideals of fairness and opportunity,” ABA President Bob Carlson said in a letter to all members of the House before the bill’s passage. The bill passed in a vote of 237-187; the Washington Post and CNN have stories.

In the letter, Carlson contended that most of the youths who would be eligible to earn permanent legal status did not choose to come to the United States and should not be punished for their parents’ decisions.

“They have grown up here, gone to school, and been active in their communities; for many, it is the only home they have ever known,” he said. “To force these young people to remain in or return to the shadows, unable to contribute to our society and our economy, or worse, to spend our limited immigration enforcement resources to deport them, is unconscionable and against our national interests.”

Carlson pointed out that the American public has shown support for young immigrants, and that many government officials; military leaders; educational institutions and associations; and business, civil rights and religious groups have supported this bill and other similar legislation.

Carlson added that Congress should focus on implementing comprehensive immigration reform that “fairly and realistically addresses the undocumented population, protects refugees and asylum-seekers, recognizes the need for immigrant labor and the value of family reunification, and provides for an effective and humane immigration enforcement strategy that respects our fundamental principles of due process and the rule of law.”

The American Dream and Promise Act was introduced by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.

See also: “4th Circuit rules rescission of DACA was arbitrary and capricious”

ABA Journal: “Straddling two identities as a lawyer and DACA recipient” “Congress should enact legislation allowing DACA recipients to apply for citizenship, ABA House says”

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