The American Dream May Be Quenched For All Immigrants By the 2021 Dreamers Act

The Dreamers Act is a bill passed in 2021 by the House of Representatives in a vote of 298-197.

“The bill would provide conditional permanent resident status for ten years to dreamers, deferred enforced departure (DED), temporary protected status (TPS), and children of non-immigrant visa holders who may age out of status,” says Brent Renison, an immigration attorney in Portland, Oregon. This means that the Bill not only gives dreamers the security of legal citizenship in the US, it also extends that courtesy to immigrants that have come here on employment-based visas such as the popular H1B visa.

“It has affected…employment categories, mostly, people born in India or China,” says Renison.

Over the past decade or so, a lot of families have moved here from India on TPS or temporary protected status-based visas. However, their priority dates for permanent residency have moved excruciatingly slowly. Parents who brought their kids when they were in elementary school, started aging out (above 21), and the kids were forced to either go back to India or apply for an F1 or student visa, which posed its own restrictions and challenges.

The 2021 Dreamers Act or HR6, helps such families that came here on H1B, LR, or E visa from the green card backlog and puts them on the path for citizenship. If a family comes into the States with a child that is 18 years or younger and applies for an LPR then, they are on the right track to gain the security of becoming a legal citizen. 

The HR6 dream and promise act provides a safety net for such families and gives them a direct path to citizenship. This is not only beneficial for individuals and families but will also have a positive impact on the economy says, Joseph Villela, director of policy and advocacy for CHIRLA: “Based on a survey, 78% of them indicated that they got their first job because of the change of status, 45% reported an increase in earnings.” 50% of the DACA beneficiaries who were surveyed also opened a bank account and 23% received their first credit card. This survey shows the various significantly positive effects change in status has on the American economy and boosting its GDP. 

While DACA provided temporary relief to a lot of young adults, the 2021 Dream and Promise Act is especially comforting to the millions of undocumented citizens who lost their status or risked it during the Trump administration. “This bill gives time,” says Patrice Lawrence, the Co-Director for the UndocuBlack Network. The bill provides the temporary security of time (three years) for TPS and DED holders, and for dreamers and undocumented citizens, to adjust their status. 

During this time of hoping and fighting for the rights of dreamers, undocumented citizens, TPS, and DED holders, it is important that the media focus on humanizing individual stories rather than confining people to survey numbers or certain categories. The speakers at the EMS briefing on April 9th all stated the importance of showing stories that humanize and show the realities of immigrants in the media whilst also understanding the positive contributions they make to American society.

Theresa Cardinal Brown, Bipartisan Policy Center’s Managing Director of Immigration and Cross-border Policy, stated that public opinion is especially important in local districts and states as Congress members will look specifically at those pollings. It is most effective to advocate for the rights of these individuals through constituent calls, local papers, hearsay, etc. in each district. It’s important to broaden advocacy to every state and location. 

José Alonso Munoz, the National Communications Manager for United We Dream highlighted the importance to recognise and separate the political aspect and from the humanity of people that are fighting for their rights every day. All the speakers agreed that humanizing individual stories and highlighting their realities as a media platform, actively participating, and standing up for such individuals, are both extremely effective ways in which public opinion matters and will always matter in this fight. 

“We need to overhaul the system” concludes  Joseph Villela, director of policy and advocacy for CHIRLA.

Helpful links:

CHIRLA 

https://www.chirla.org

United We dream

https://unitedwedream.org

UndocuBlack Network  

https://undocublack.org

Other helpful links: 

“House Passes American Dream and Promise Act, Providing Pathway to Citizenship for Children of H-1B Workers”- India West 

American Immigration Council: Dream Act Overview 


Swati Ramaswamy is a recent graduate from UC Davis and an aspiring creative writer  


 

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