American Dream and Promise Act, which would provide pathways to citizenship, passes in US House of Representatives

Flowchart summarizing the American Dream and Promise Act
Kaitlan Tseng/Senior Staff

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act, or HR 6, on Tuesday, which would provide pathways to citizenship for more than 2 million people, including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients and those with temporary protected status.

The bill, which passed by a vote of 237-187, was sponsored primarily by California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, and had 232 co-sponsors, including Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. It has received support from UC President Janet Napolitano, as well as campus organizations such as the Undocumented Student Program.

“UC is home to thousands of undocumented students who are preparing to be the next generation of standout teachers, medical professionals, engineers, lawyers and other important contributors to our country,” Napolitano said in a press release Tuesday. “It is now time for them to have a path to permanent residence and citizenship through the American Dream and Promise Act.”

According to campus Undocumented Student Program Director Liliana Iglesias, if passed, the bill would have major consequences for many campus students who qualify, such as increased job access, more scholarship opportunities and increased study options including studying abroad. She added that not all students would qualify and other programs to aid undocumented students would need to continue or be strengthened with the passage of the bill.

Because of the Republican majority of the Senate and past policy decisions by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, many political analysts have said they feel that the chances of the bill passing the Senate are slim with the Senate’s current makeup. The executive Office of Management and Budget released a statement Monday voicing opposition to the bill and making its intention of recommending that the president veto the bill clear.

“H.R. 6 would only exacerbate illegal immigration and the exploitation of our immigration laws by incentivizing more illegal behavior while doing nothing to address the problems at our southern border or broader immigration enforcement efforts,” said the Office of Management and Budget’s statement. “Rather than sending a signal that will invite more people to illegally enter our country, the Administration urges the Congress to focus on real solutions to address the problems within our immigration system.”

According to Iglesias, the number of students enrolled on campus who are DACA recipients has been decreasing in recent years because of the current administration’s restrictions on new applicants for the DACA program. She added that many DACA-recipient students have  graduated, while fewer are enrolling.

The bill has not received a hearing date, nor has it been assigned to a committee in the Senate as of press time.

Contact Katherine Finman at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @KateFinman_DC.