American Dream and Promise Act passes House
On June 5, 2019, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 passed the House of Representatives 237-187, essentially on a party-line.
The Bill would provide protection from deportation and a path to citizenship to over 2 million Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure recipients. Each of these three groups are in the US under different programs, so what are these programs and how are these people eligible?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was started by Barack Obama in 2012 and it granted status to those who entered the US illegally, as children. Commonly referred to as Dreamers, these individuals can work in the US and will not face deportation.
To qualify for DACA, a person must meet the following conditions:
- Been in the US since 2007 and came before they turned 16;
- Be under the age of 31 before June 15, 2012;
- Be attending school, have a High School diploma, or be a military veteran; and
- Generally, have a clean criminal record.
In 2017, President Trump announced that the program was terminated, however that decision quickly faced court challenges. It was argued that the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Nationwide injunctions ensued and halted the termination of DACA.
On June 3, 2019, the Supreme Court declined to take up a case reviewing the administration’s actions. As such, the program remains in limbo.
The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a country for Temporary Protected Status due to the following temporary conditions in the country:
- Ongoing armed conflict;
- Environmental disaster, or epidemic; or
- Other extraordinary conditions.
If you have TPS, you can remain in the US and work in the US. At the moment, there are 10 countries designated for TPS: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
The State of TPS for several countries has been uncertain for some time as court challenges continue to unfold. In October 2018, the US District Court for the Northern District of California enjoined the Department of Homeland Security from ending TPS for Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti and El Salvador. The termination of TPS for Nepal and Honduras was also stopped (Bhattarai v. Nielsen), as was the termination of TPS for Haiti (Saget v. Trump).
Right now, only Liberia is covered under the Deferred Enforced Departure program, as per former President Bush’s order of September 12, 2007. On March 28, 2019, President Trump extended the wind-down period for DED until March 20, 2020.
Despite the Bill passing the House, it is very unlikely to become law with a Republican controlled Senate and a President who does not support the Bill. Furthermore, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that enacting the legislation would increase budget deficits by $26.3 billion over the 2020-2029 period.
We will keep you updated as the Bill moves through Congress.