The US House of Representatives voted to pass the Dream Act for undocumented migrants. Known as the American Dream and Promise Act, it’s a measure aimed at providing a pathway to citizenship. Its primary goal is to help secure citizenship for migrants who arrived in the US as children. The bill’s passage comes at a time as large numbers of migrants overwhelmed US southern border towns. Voting 228-197, nine Republicans cast a “yes” vote along with Democrats to pass the bill. Next, the bill now heads to the Senate, which won’t be as welcoming as the House.
The Dream Act
More popularly known as the Dream Act, the bill will provide opportunities for more than 2.3 million “Dreamers,” or unauthorized immigrants who arrived as minors. It will also cover beneficiaries of selected humanitarian programs. With the measure, they can complete a program to gain permanent legal status and eventually, U.S. citizenship.
An earlier version of the Dream Act passed the House during the previous Congress. However, it never saw the floor in the Senate. Now, Democrats hope to achieve full passage given they also control the Senate. However, they will need at least ten Republican Senators to support the bill in order to get the necessary votes.
Farm Workforce Modernization Act
Also on Thursday, the House also passed The Farm Workforce Modernization Act. This act helps approximately 1 million undocumented farm workers to apply for legal status. The bill received support from both Democrats and a sizable number of Republicans. In fact, it passed via a 247-174 vote, which included 30 Republicans voting in support of the measure. Representative Jared Golden (ME) is the lone Democrat who sided with the majority of Republicans who voted no.
GOP Representative Dan Newhouse (WA) defended the bill. “There simply isn’t enough interest among domestic workers to get these jobs done,” he said Thursday. The bill provides a “targeted” and “bipartisan solution” needed by farmers and ranchers. Meanwhile, Democrat sponsors say the act can impact the lives of an estimated 3.4 million people.
Don’t Ignore the Southern Border
Many Republicans took the floor Thursday to denounce the administration of President Joe Biden for mishandling the current border crisis. An overwhelming number of migrants deluged the US southern border in the hopes of entering the US. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who recently returned from a border visit, decried the administration’s shortcomings. “It is the Biden border crisis. So far, the Biden Administration and Congressional Democrats aren’t providing any solutions,” he said.
Republicans argued that Biden unleashed the crisis by rolling back former President Donald’s Trump more hardline immigration policies. In particular, the White House seemed to relax on the policy of allowing unaccompanied minors to enter the US. Now, there are 9,562 unaccompanied children in custody among various Health and Human Services (HHS) facilities. An additional 4,5000 migrants are in Border Patrol custody. Once documented and processed, migrants transfer to HHS shelters.
Biden Denies the Border Situation is a Crisis
Meanwhile, the Biden administration refuses to call the situation a ‘crisis,’ preferring instead to heap blame on the previous administration. White House officials and leading Democrats in the House insist that they inherited a system unprepared for the increased number.
“Give us the time to rebuild the system that was entirely dismantled in the prior administration, and we have in fact begun to rebuild that system,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas pleaded on ABC's “Good Morning America” last Tuesday.
Next Stop: The Senate
Now that both bills head to the Senate, another uphill battle is shaping up. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) recognized the challenge of excluding the current situation. Republicans can’t engage in negotiations over immigration reform without discussing border security and the administration’s handling of unaccompanied minors. “Until he regains control with policies that work, it's going to be hard to do anything on Dreamers or anything else. Legalizing anybody under these circumstances would lead to even more illegal immigration,” Graham said.
Watch the Bloomberg Quicktake Now video reported that the House Passes Dream Act Opposed by Republicans Over Border Concerns, 228-197:
Do you support the passage of the Dream Act? What parts do you like or not like about opening a pathway to citizenship for migrants? Let us know what you think by sharing your opinions in the comments section below.
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