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House approves new Dream Act granting path to citizenship

McMorris Rodgers is Washington’s only member of Congress to vote ‘no’


WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 5, 2019) — Democrats and a handful of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted 237-187 on Tuesday to approve a new version of the DREAM Act that would place more than 2 million young undocumented immigrants and immigrants with temporary status on a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

Washington’s Democratic Reps. Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith and Denny Heck all voted “yes.” Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-4th) was one of only seven Republicans to support the measure. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5th) voted “no” while Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-3rd) did not vote.

“I voted today to stand with Dreamers and immigrants who have come to the United States to escape armed conflict, natural disasters and other extraordinary circumstances,” Larsen said. “I have consistently fought for a permanent solution for people with DACA, TPS and DED so they can continue contributing to the U.S. economy.”

The Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6), which is strongly supported by the AFL-CIO, offers a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, many of whom have spent their entire lives in the United States under programs offering temporary status such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). DACA “Dreamers” who are eligible for protection under the bill 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. Immigrants eligible for TPS or DED—programs protecting individuals in the United States whose countries of origin are experiencing ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters, or other extraordinary conditions—have, on average, lived in the United States since 1997.

Since President Trump’s term began, his administration has tried to dismantle the DACA program, instituted by President Obama in 2012 through executive action. Four circuit courts, however, have blocked the government from completely dismantling the program, and the Supreme Court this week denied a Justice Department request to fast-track the high court’s consideration of the legal battle surrounding DACA.

The Washington Post reports that, following Tuesday’s passage of H.R. 6, House Democratic leaders voiced optimism that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would bring up the legislation in the Senate, though many believe it’s unlilkely given his past opposition to similar measures.

“There should be nothing partisan or political about this legislation,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a news conference, flanked by other Democrats and supporters of the measure. “We are proud to pass it, we hope, in a bipartisan way.”

Immigrants eligible for protection under H.R. 6 are part of Washington state’s social fabric. According to the Center for American Progress:

●  Washington is home to 52,200 immigrants who are eligible for protection under the Dream and Promise Act.

●  These individuals live with 121,200 family members; among those family members, 23,500 are U.S.-born citizen children.

●  Dreamers in Washington who are eligible for protection under the bill arrived in the
United States at the average age of 8.

●  TPS- and DED-eligible immigrants in Washington who would be eligible for protection under H.R. 6 have on average lived in the United States since 1996.

In addition, Washington’s economy benefits from immigrants eligible for protection under H.R. 6:

●  Immigrants eligible for the Dream and Promise Act own 4,400 homes in Washington and pay $45,800,000 in annual mortgage payments.

●  Eligible immigrants and their households contribute $428,800,000 in federal taxes and $229,200,000 in state and local taxes each year.

●  Annually, these households generate $1,744,300,000 in spending power.

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