House of Representatives Passes Immigration Bill Aimed at Helping ‘Dreamers’

According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, the House of Representatives passed a bill designed to provide additional protections to Dreamers—including a path to citizenship. The bill was approved by a 228 to 197 vote, with 9 Republicans joining the Democratic majority. Here, our Los Angeles DACA attorney explains what is in the bill and the next steps on the legislative process.

American Dream and Promise Act: A Path to Permanent Legal Status

On March 18th, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021. The legislation provides certain immigrants with a path to permanent residency, including Dreamers. It also includes other immigration-related provisions. As the bill is currently drafted, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) estimates that as many as 4.4 million Dreamers could be eligible for additional immigration benefits under the law. The legislation covers people who were brought into the United States when they were younger than 18 years old, including those who are currently covered by DACA protections

Unlike in 2019, the Biden White House Supports the Bill

It is not the first time that the House of Representatives has voted in favor of the American Dream and Promise Act. In March of 2019, the legislative body passed similar legislation. However, at that time, there was no real hope of the bill becoming law. President Trump would have almost certainly vetoed the American Dream and Promise Act if it ever reached his desk. The good news for immigration reform is that things have changed in Washington.

The Biden Administration supports the law. Following the passage of the bill in the House of Representatives, the White House released a Statement by President Biden on the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021. Among other things, the president emphasized his support for the bill, calling it a “critical first step in reforming our immigration system”, particularly its provision protecting permanent immigration relief to Dreamers.

Major Challenges Remain for the American Dream and Promise Act in the Senate

Although the American Dream and Promise Act has the support of the White House, it still faces significant challenges in the divided Senate. Each party holds 50 seats in the chamber, with Vice President Kamala Harris in position to break any ties. The bill’s future is very much uncertain in the Senate. As reported by National Public Radio (NPR), there are two paths available for the bill:

  1. Compromise: Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin is negotiating with a group of moderate Republicans to get the votes to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package with a bipartisan, filibuster-proof majority.
  2. Rules Change: The Democrats could pass the bill on their own. However, they would first need all 50 of their Senators to support a rules change, eliminating the Republicans’ ability to filibuster the bill. Multiple Senators, including Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) have expressed skepticism about eliminating or restricting the filibuster.

Get Help From a DACA Lawyer in Los Angeles

At Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, our Los Angeles immigration attorney is driven to find solutions for clients. If you have questions about DACA, DACA renewals, or your legal rights, we are available to help. Contact us now for a completely confidential immigration consultation. Our immigration law firm represents clients throughout Southern California, including in Long Beach, East Los Angeles, West Covina, Burbank, Manhattan Beach, Gardena, and Cerritos.

Josh Goldstein
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