(CMC) — The United States House of Representatives has passed the latest version of the DREAM Act, an ambitious expansion of an almost two-decades-long legislative effort that would put millions of young undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants and immigrants with temporary status on a pathway to US citizenship.
The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), sponsored by Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, passed the Democratic-controlled House by a vote of 237 to 187.
Seven Republicans in the House of Representatives joined all 230 Democrats in voting for the legislation’s passage.
The measure now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate.
Clarke, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, said the Dream and Promise Act provides a pathway to citizenship for 2.5 million Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) recipients, as well as DREAMers.
DREAMers are young undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants who came to the US as children, including those who were protected from deportation by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Since Trump assumed the presidency, he has terminated the DACA programme, but US courts have blocked it.
Clarke, who is chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Immigration Task Force, along with Representatives Roybal-Allard, of California, and Velázquez, of New York, sponsored what Clarke referred to as “this common-sense immigration bill to protect immigrant communities across America.”
Clarke told the Caribbean Media Corporation on Wednesday that she ensured H.R. 6 includes rights for TPS and DED recipients, “who are often overshadowed or excluded from immigration legislation.”
“Passing the Dream and Promise Act marks a monumental day for more than 2.5 million immigrants in America,” she said. “As Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Immigration Task Force, it is my duty to stand up for immigrants. “They are our neighbours and our friends, and are engrained within the fabric of our communities.
“I am proud to champion the rights for Temporary Protected Status recipients, Deferred Enforcement Departure recipients, as well as DREAMers, who call America home, so they will have a pathway to citizenship,” she added.
“Each year immigrants eligible for H.R.6 pay more than US$17.3 billion in federal and nearly US$9.7 billion in state and local taxes,” Clarke continued. “These same immigrant households amass more than US$75 billion in buying power and pay in excess of US$2.5 billion in mortgages annually.”
She said more than 180,000 Caribbean and other immigrants in New York qualify under this legislation.