House OKs Dream & Promise Act, and an opportunity emerges

By Dan Gordon

For the first time since 2010, the House of Representatives passed a measure this month that would offer permanence and stability to millions of immigrants.

The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 passed 237-187, with seven Republicans voting for the bill. Should it become law, the bill would protect Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients.

An estimated 2.7 million Dreamers and other immigrants would gain the opportunity to earn eventual citizenship if they meet certain requirements. Currently these immigrants, nearly all of whom are working or studying, are at the mercy of court rulings that may be temporary.

Dreamers who have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) contribute nearly $42 billion annually to the U.S. GDP, according to the American Action Forum.

Requiring TPS recipients to leave would cost at least $45 billion in lost GDP in the ensuing decade, and employers would face nearly $1 billion in turnover costs, according to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

“A solution for Dreamers, TPS recipients and DED recipients is urgent. The Dream and Promise Act offers a starting point for the two parties to work together, cement these immigrants’ contributions and provide some certainty for American employers and workers,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum.

“Most Americans want bipartisan solutions that include the protections in the Dream and Promise Act. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House must find a way to work together and seize this opportunity,” said Noorani.

“Since taking office, the Trump administration has relentlessly used the U.S. immigration system to victimize immigrants trying to entder the United States and making life more difficult for those already here,” said Lisa McCormick, a human rights advocate. “The Dream and Promise Act of 2019, or H.R. 6, offers a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers who on average arrived in the United States at the age of 8 and have grown up and built their lives knowing the United States as their home.”

New Jersey is home to 95,600 peoeple who are eligible for protection under the Dream and Promise Act, according to McCormick.

Eligible immigrants in New Jersey and their households contribute $896,700,000 in federal taxes and $475,100,000 in state and local taxes each year.

Without permanent protections such as those in the Dream and Promise Act, these immigrants’ and their families’ futures in the United States—as well as the fiscal and economic contributions they make—are at risk.

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