Washington D.C. — Today, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reintroduced the Dream Act. The bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for nearly 2 million undocumented individuals who came to the country at a young age, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and other immigrant youth. This is an important first step toward securing protections for all 10.4 million undocumented immigrants in the country today and building an immigration system that is more fair, humane, and workable.
In response, Tom Jawetz, vice president of Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
We celebrate today’s reintroduction of the Dream Act as a promising first step in securing permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals and DACA recipients—more than 200,000 of whom are working in essential roles during the pandemic. As we work to rebuild an economy that is equitable and inclusive, passing the Dream Act would add an estimated $22.7 billion annually to the U.S. gross domestic product. It has been two decades since the Dream Act was first introduced, and it is long past time for this bill to become law. We urge the Senate to take up and pass the Dream Act immediately, along with the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and Emergency (SECURE) Act, which would similarly extend a path to citizenship for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. And we urge Congress to move quickly to take up legislation such as the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act and to include in economic recovery legislation a path to citizenship for undocumented essential workers and their families.
The work to deliver the significant legislative reforms required to build a more fair, humane, and workable immigration system must begin immediately, but we know it cannot end with the Dream Act. As undocumented essential workers continue to place their lives and their families’ lives at risk, Congress must use all legislative tools—including reconciliation—to secure protections and a pathway to citizenship for these individuals and their families. Additionally, passage of the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would place an estimated 2.1 million DACA recipients and TPS holders, as well as undocumented agricultural workers, on a pathway to citizenship.
There is a lot of momentum in Congress for change, and that reflects the urgency felt on the ground throughout the country. Now is the time to deliver for our families and our communities.
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