US lower house creates path to citizenship for migrants
The speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, holds a press conference at the Capitol in Washington on Jun. 4, 2019. EPA-EFE/Jim Lo Scalzo
Speaker of the House from California Nancy Pelosi, along with other democratic representatives, speaks to the media about the American Dream and Promise Act in the US Capitol in Washington, DC, USA, Jun. 4, 2019. EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO
Washington, DC, Jun 4 (efe-epa).- Democrats in the US House of Representatives used their majority status on Tuesday to pass a bill that contemplates a path to citizenship for more than 2.5 million immigrants who entered the country without authorization or with only temporary status.
The House voted 237-187 in favor of the DREAM and Promise Act of 2019, as seven Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting the measure.
Prospects for the legislation in the Republican-controlled Senate are dim.
Building on the two-decade old DREAM Act, aimed at providing relief to undocumented young people who were brought to the United States as children, the bill would make it possible for participants in three existing programs to obtain permanent residency.
The largest contingent of potential beneficiaries comprises the more than 700,000 undocumented youth who enjoy protection from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, known as "Dreamers."
DACA began in 2012 under then-President Barack Obama.
Another group consists of more than 300,000 people who have been allowed to live and work in the US by virtue of Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is extended to migrants from countries affected by natural disasters and conflicts.
El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Haiti are the main countries of origin for TPS beneficiaries.
The bill would also open the door to legal permanent residence for Liberian immigrants who fall into the category of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
When the bill received the 218th vote ensuring its passage, visitors in the House gallery burst into chants of "Si se puede!" and "Yes, we can!"
All of the Democratic members stood and applauded at the conclusion of the voting, while some, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, joined in the chants.
President Donald Trump announced in 2017 that he would scrap DACA on March 5, 2018, if Congress could not come up with a permanent legislative fix to resolve the issue of the Dreamers.
But the deadline came and went and DACA remains in effect, thanks to federal court decisions preventing the administration from ending the program. EFE