On March 12, House Democrats plan to introduce a new version of the Dream Act that provides amnesty for certain Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure recipients as well as those who entered the country illegally as minors. If the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6) resembles past versions, it would offer citizenship to millions.
Past DREAM Acts covered a much larger illegal-alien population that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which applies to those who: entered the country illegally before 6/15/12; were under the age of 16 upon entry; and had five years of continuous presence thereafter. If Congress legalized the current DACA population, less than 800,000 would be affected. But a 2017 version of the DREAM Act (S. 1615) would have provided eventual citizenship to about 3.34 million.
If S. 1615 had passed in 2017, beneficiaries would have been able to sponsor about 14 million relatives for entry through chain migration. Under a DACA legalization, about 3 million chain migrants could enter.
The DREAM Act is expected to have fiscal consequences for taxpayers. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that S. 1615, which excluded Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure recipients, would increase the federal deficit by $25.9 billion over a ten-year period.
House Democrats plan to extend eventual citizenship to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients under the new DREAM Act. TPS allows foreign nationals from designated countries to live and work in the U.S. for a limited period of time. The Homeland Security Department can designate countries for TPS participation if they are subject to ongoing armed conflict, an environmental disaster or certain other extraordinary and temporary conditions.
President Trump terminated TPS for individuals from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador, but a federal court ruling has thus far blocked implementation. The new DREAM Act presumably would place participants from these countries on a path to citizenship. That would include 1,040 from Sudan, 2,550 from Nicaragua, 46,000 from Haiti and 195,000 from El Salvador.
The bill reportedly would amnesty those who are no longer eligible for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). The president has discretion to designate individuals from certain countries as “not removable” for a certain period of time. DED is not a specific immigration status, but it can confer work authorization benefits. At this point only one country is DED-designated – Liberia -- but that designation expires on March 31. If the new DREAM Act passes, about 4,000 Liberians will benefit.
Read more in Roll Call.
Updated: Thu, Mar 14th 2019 @ 6:10pm EDT