Earlier this week, Democrats in the House of Representatives unveiled The Dream and Promise Act of 2019. This new bill provides a path to citizenship for eligible undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. The bill also proposes a path to legal residency for immigrants who were granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). TPS is issued to foreign nationals living in the U.S. from countries experiencing natural disasters, armed conflict, or other conditions. DED gave temporary permission to Liberians in 2007 to stay in the United States.
The bill would provide conditional permanent resident status to beneficiaries of TPS, DED, and DACA. Immigrants would need to fulfill an education, employment, or military track to qualify for the permanent resident status. It would also permit eligible immigrant youth who have been deported by the Trump administration to return. According to the New Jersey Policy Perspective, an average of 115,000 New Jersey residents could benefit from the bill, including 13,900 TPS holders and 101,000 "Dreamers."
An Uphill Battle for Dreamers
Currently, 8 of 12 New Jersey Democratic congressional members signed on as cosponsors of the bill. “We need this pathway, we must fix our immigration system, and make it fair and predictable for everyone,” said Representative Donald M. Norcross. Since limiting immigration is one of the top priorities for the Trump administration, Republicans in the House and Senate and President Trump won’t make it easy to pass this bill. Democrats will also have to convince their own party to support the bill.
“We know what is right; we know the value of allowing immigrants to stay in this country… [these] individuals have been contributing to our massive economy. We are also well aware of the negative impact our economy will have if the Trump administration would be allowed to deport everyone it wants to deport” said Watson Coleman, a New Jersey Democratic Congress Man.
According to state officials, New Jersey is home to over 14,000 TPS holders. The Trump administration announced plans to terminate TPS for 6 to 10 designated countries, including Sudan, Haiti, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Nepal, and Honduras. Immigration hardliners claim that TPS holders are receiving protection for crises that occurred several years ago and therefore, the extensions over a period of years should be terminated.
“I strongly believe we have to fight for all pathway to citizenship for all undocumented people and this legislation is an important first step,” says Rey Amaya, an undocumented civil engineering student who is fighting toward residency.
If you need immigration assistance, our New Jersey immigration attorneys can help you. Call (800) 909-8129 or contact us online for a free consultation.