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Dream & Promise Act passage in House is a first step toward residency for Dreamers and TPS holders

  • Enactment remains uncertain

The House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act by a vote of 228-197 on March 18.  The bill provides a path to residency to about 3 million immigrants. It covers Dreamers – young people who came to the U.S. as children – and holders of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), most of whom have been here for decades.  These are two segments of the immigrant population for which there is the broadest public support.  

The bill faces an uncertain future in Congress.  Similar bills have been introduced multiple times, but never won final approval.  The last failed effort was in 2019, with many similar provisions.   

The uncertain path forward 

After yesterday’s vote, the Senate must pass its own version.  Opponents in the evenly-divided Senate have much greater ability to block or delay a bill on procedural grounds.  It may never come to a vote or could be significantly changed to get a majority.   

The increase in migrants and unaccompanied children crossing the southern border is making it easier for immigration opponents to mobilize opposition to any immigration reform. 

If the Senate does pass a bill, House and Senate leaders will have to try to negotiate a compromise that can win majorities in each chamber. Both House and Senate will then have to approve the compromise bill.  At each step, there is the possibility of delay or defeat.  President Biden would then sign the bill to enact it as law.   

What immigrant groups are included? 

The Dream and Promise Act includes a path for temporary and permanent residence to persons who have been in the U.S. continuously since 1/1/2021 and were 18 or younger when they first arrived.  They would have to have a high school degree or GED or be in school and pass criminal background checks.  An estimated 2.5 million Dreamers could be covered, according to the Washington Post.     

The Act also includes giving holders of TPS or DED permanent residency if they have been in the U.S. for 3 years and were eligible for or had TPS as of 09/2017. Also included is a much smaller group of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders who were in the U.S. as of 1/20/21.  This part of the Act would benefit an estimated 400,000 TPS or DED holders.  

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