Washington, D.C. — As we commemorate the one-year anniversary of the passage of the American Dream and Promise Act, or H.R. 6, by the U.S. House of Representatives and call on the Senate to bring the bill up for a vote, Tom Jawetz, vice president for Immigration Policy at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:
Over the past several weeks, the country has experienced tremendous pain as we once more see plainly the inequities and injustices that undermine what we believe to be the promise of America. The United States has surpassed 100,000 deaths from a virus that has disproportionately affected and killed Black and brown people. We witnessed the killing of yet another Black man by police and saw national protests around the country met with state-sanctioned violence that erodes the rule of law and threatens U.S. democracy.
Americans are ready for change that produces equitable outcomes and lives up to the best ideals of this nation. One year ago yesterday, under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the House of Representatives passed the historic American Dream and Promise Act of 2019—a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for 2.5 million Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries. The fight for protection, safety, and humanity for all immigrants and immigrant families—and others represented by this important bill—is tied to the fight against structural racism that burdens our society.
Yet one year later, as millions of people anxiously await federal court decisions regarding the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and TPS recipients, H.R. 6 continues to languish in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has long refused to act. During this time, the urgency of passing this bill for the country and for potential beneficiaries has only increased. Dreamers and TPS holders are beloved parents, friends, business owners, workers, and members of our communities who are vital to the strength and resilience of our economy and society. As COVID-19 ravages our nation, hundreds of thousands of Dreamers and TPS holders have provided critical support on the front lines as essential workers in health care, sanitation, education, food production and processing, and more. They have exposed themselves and their families to the risk of infection to keep America running, all while knowing that at any moment, court rulings could throw their lives into chaos. Senate Republicans and Leader McConnell who control the floor schedule could provide permanent protections to these individuals by bringing H.R. 6 up for a vote, but they refuse to do so.
We urge Congress not to fall prey to the administration’s efforts to sow division and instead lead with policies that support all communities. Protecting Dreamers and TPS and DED beneficiaries is about upholding America’s future as a nation that embraces the contributions of all people, honors families, and ensures our shared prosperity. We applaud the House for taking bold action for immigrant families one year ago, and we urge the Senate to respect the will of the American people by bringing H.R. 6 up for a vote.