Thursday, May 6, 2021

House Passes Immigration Bills for DREAMers & Farmworkers

The House passed two immigration bills; one that would create a pathway to citizenship for millions of DREAMers and another one that would allow green cards for farmworkers.

The first bill, the American Dream and Promise Act, would provide a pathway to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and those granted temporary protection from deportation. The measure passed 228 to 197 with 9 Republicans voting in favor of the measure.

President Biden commented on the bill passed, “The American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 is a critical first step in reforming our immigration system and will provide much needed relief to TPS holders and DREAMers, young people who came here as children and know no other country.”

The second bill, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, creates a system for undocumented workers to apply for legal status and allow farmworkers to receive a green card if they pay a fine and work an additional four to eight years in agriculture. The measure would also overhaul the temporary agricultural worker program, which allows U.S. employers who meet certain requirements to bring foreign workers into the country to fill such jobs. It passed by a vote of 247- 174, with 30 Republicans voting in favor of the bill.

President Biden who supports both bills said in a statement after the farmworker bill was passed that it “will deliver the lawful status and better working conditions that this critical workforce deserves, as well as much needed stability for farmers, growers, and the entire agriculture industry.” Biden further added that his administration is ready to work with both political parties.

Representative Raul Ruiz, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus stated, “DREAMers are doctors, nurses, lab technicians, contact tracers and job creators. Farmworkers are getting infected and dying from COVID at a much higher rate than the general public. They are literally dying to feed you, give you the nutrients you need to heal from COVID.”

These bills come as the Biden Administration is faced with a significant surge of migrants arriving at the U.S.- Mexico border including thousands of unaccompanied children. The legislation doesn’t address that situation, which Republicans are calling a crisis.

In the meantime, House Democrats are not ready yet to vote on their more comprehensive immigration bill, the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which would provide an eight- year path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. by January 1. The bill would also lift hurdles for workers to legally immigrate to the U.S.

NBC