House passes bill to provide citizen path for DACA recipients

A demonstrator holds a "Defend Dreamers" sign during the 45th Annual March for Life, and as the government faces a shutdown, in Washington, D.C., on January 19, 2018. The House passed a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients Tuesday. File Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI

June 5 (UPI) — The House passed a bill on Tuesday providing a path to citizenship to people protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The legislation, known as the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019, passed by a vote of 237 to 187 and would provide undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children and protected under DACA, known as “Dreamers,” the opportunity to obtain citizenship by meeting certain requirements.

Dreamers would be eligible to receive 10 years of conditional U.S. permanent residence if they were younger than 18 upon arriving in the United States, have lived in the country continuously for four years and have an American high school diploma or GED. They must also pass a background check and not have committed any serious crimes.

After completing at least two years of higher education or military service, or working for three years, they would receive permanent green cards.

It also allows Temporary Protected Status recipients and Liberian immigrants under the Deferred Enforced Departure to gain permanent residency.

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Lawmakers had previously drafted multiple bills seeking to provide clarity for the thousands of Dreamers granted protection under the Obama administration since President Donald Trump moved to end the DACA program in 2017, but none passed.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., said Tuesday was the “first time the Dream Act will be passed by a chamber of Congress as a top Democratic priority.”

House Republicans criticized Democrats for not offering a proposal on how it would pay the estimated $30 billion cost of the legislation and for not including funding for border security.

“If Democrats were serious about immigration, they would do something about the humanitarian and national security crisis along our southern border,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said.

The Republican-held Senate is unlikely to consider the bill and Trump has suggested he would veto it.

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