Wednesday, July 24, 2024

House Democrats introduce bill called the Dream and Promise Act

House Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a new version of the Dream Act amid renewed debate over border security funding.

The bill’s proponents say that this time they aim to get it signed into law by President Trump or at least past the Senate and onto Trump’s desk. The proposal includes a path to citizenship for many DREAMers and beneficiaries of temporary protected status (TPS) and deferred enforced departure (DED), but it does not include any provisions on border security or immigration enforcement funding.

Together, DREAMers and beneficiaries of TPS and DED make up a population of immigrants who either lack legal status or could lose it, but never made a conscious decision to break U.S. immigration law. “Whether you are a Democrat or you are a Republican, as we travel to 2020, we gotta consider what our constituency wants, and I think they want relief for these young people,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.).

The bill is likely to sail past the House and accrue some Republican support, but it will face stiff resistance to make the 60-vote threshold in the GOP-held Senate. “We’ll push. We’ll do our job and get it out of the House, and we’ll push to get it out of the Senate, and I know the full weight of the country will be on the White House to pass this bill because these young people have given this movement a face.” said Espaillat, a member of the House Democratic whip team.

But Republicans who supported previous versions of the Dream Act are livid over what they call Democrats’ failure to reach across the aisle on this version; “My hope would be that Democrats would work with folks to actually get something done. My fear was that they would do something knowing that it couldn’t get done for political reasons, and that’s what this is,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said. Diaz-Balart, a veteran of several immigration reform negotiations, said he could end up voting for the Democratic proposal but blasted Democratic leadership for using the issue to score political points.

Democrats, who promised action on immigration reform within the first 100 days of their House majority, opted to skip the often-tedious process of negotiating with their opposition. They’re banking on support from some moderate Republicans who’ve voted in favor of similar proposals in the past but also on using Trump’s words against him.