American Dream and Promise Act passes in House, faces uncertain future in Senate

19 Mar 21

UNITED STATES

The House of Representatives on Thursday passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, voting 228-197 to provide a pathway to citizenship to millions of Dreamers and other immigrants living in the United States. The legislation faces uncertain prospects in the Senate.

Key Points:

  • The American Dream and Promise Act would make as many as 4.4 million Dreamers (immigrants brought to the country unlawfully when they were children), Temporary Protected Status recipients and others eligible for lawful permanent resident status and eventually citizenship if they meet certain requirements.
  • The bill also covers a group of immigrants that most Dreamer legislation leaves out: “legal Dreamers,” the children of H-1B, L-1 and E visa holders who “age out” of their status.
  • The Senate has not yet indicated how it will proceed. A separate bill, the Dream Act of 2021, has been introduced in the Senate.
  • President Joe Biden issued a statement in support of the legislation.

Background: The status of Dreamers has been a top political issue in immigration in recent years. In January, President Joe Biden ordered the Department of Homeland Security to take steps to “preserve and fortify” Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program that protects millions of Dreamers from deportation and allows them to apply for work authorization. DACA is the subject of ongoing litigation, however, and business organizations and others have consistently pushed lawmakers to find a legislative fix.

On March 3, the Coalition for the American Dream, which comprises more than 100 of the nation’s top businesses and trade associations, sent a letter to Senate leaders urging Democrats and Republicans to work together to pass the Senate bill. The Coalition praised the House vote Thursday, calling it “an important step forward towards Congress finally addressing a long overdue issue that Americans in both parties overwhelmingly support.”

BAL Analysis: The passage of the American Dream and Promise Act in the House is a significant victory for Dreamers and their supporters. The legislation faces an uncertain future in the Senate, however. Clients interested in supporting the legislation are encouraged to continue to do so through business associations that are urging Congress to pass the legislation. BAL will continue to follow developments related to DACA and the Dreamer legislation and will provide updates as information becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@balglobal.com.

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