Democratic Party led-US House of Representatives passed progressive immigration laws that seek to create a pathway to citizenship for children brought to the country illegally, migrant farm workers and immigrants who have fled war or natural disasters.
The US House of Representatives passed two bills on immigration reform on Thursday that would provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of DREAMers, Temporary Protected Status holders, and farm workers. But they also served as an early indicator of Republicans’ limited appetite to work with Democrats on the highly polarized issue of immigration, raising the question of whether a more ambitious, comprehensive overhaul is possible in the current political climate.
The bills, Democrats’ first stab at passing any sort of immigration reform since the start of the Biden Administration and taking control of Congress, passed with modest Republican support. But they face an uncertain future in the Senate as immigration is back in the national spotlight due to the surge of unaccompanied migrant minors arriving at the southern U.S. border. The emerging crisis has simultaneously highlighted the need for comprehensive immigration reform and raised questions about whether more sweeping action is possible as Republicans seek to link the influx to Biden’s immigration agenda.
Offering legal status to around 2 million undocumented children brought to the US, called “Dreamers” after a previous failed law called the Dream Act. These children were offered temporary protection from deportation by an Obama-era rule that Donald Trump had unsuccessfully tried to end — courts rejected his attempts.
Now the Democrats are seeking to create for them a pathway to citizenship. The bill will also benefit many undocumented Indian children, the Economic Times reports. The bills now need 60 votes in a Senate that is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. Only after the Senate clears it can President Joe Biden sign it.
The American Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would grant DREAMers, some Temporary Protected Status holders, and farm workers the legal status they would need to pursue citizenship. Both bills are backed by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
That means 10 Republicans are to cross party lines and vote in favor, a highly unlikely scenario. The Democrat-controlled House had approved “Dreamer” and farm worker bills in 2019 by similar partisan margins, and both died in what was a Republican-run Senate.