Bill Passed in House to Help DACA-holders

Credit: Bill Oxford

(Español) Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed an immigration bill intended to help immigrants currently under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Based on the original DREAM Act introduced in 2001, the bill, officially titled the “Dream and Promise 2019,”  would grant those currently under DACA provisional permanent residence in the U.S. for 10 years, provided they have never been convicted of a felony. Although unlikely to come to the floor in a Republican held-Senate or even get the president’s signature, Democrats hoped to use the bill to assist not only current DACA holders but also beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure, although the guidelines for that class of immigrants are more strict. The president has consistently been attempting to end such protections. The measure was introduced in March of 2019, shortly before President Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House advisor, Jared Kushner, unveiled the White House’s proposal to overhaul the immigration system in the country. The Democratic leadership has already labeled the bill as a “non-starter” due to the lack of addressing any protections for DACA-holders, as the fate of the program is currently making its way through the courts as the president has attempted to end the program. Recently, the Supreme Court has denied the administration’s request for the justices to hear one of the DACA-cases during this session. The bill’s passage in the House seems to signal the court will not take up any of the cases before they make their way through the lower courts. The bill was passed 237-187 on a largely party line vote. Republicans in the House have signaled the bill is a largely political vote, despite Democrats insisting the measure should be a non-political issue. Polls frequently found wide bipartisan support for a DREAM Act-like measure but measures have always come up short to get a bill through Congress and on the president’s desk.