On June 4, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (Dream Act), H.R. 6, which would provide a roadmap to citizenship for approximately 2.6 million Dreamers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders. The Act also enables those that acquire conditional citizenship to receive the same higher education benefits awarded to United States citizens, such as access to federal student aid and in-state tuition.
The bill passed in the House by a vote of 237 to 187, with seven Republicans joining all Democrats in voting for the bill. The Oregon House delegation voted along party lines, with four Democrats (DeFazio, Blumenauer, Schrader, Bonamici) voting in support of the bill, and one Republican (Walden) voting against it.
“Many Dreamers are studying at our nation’s colleges and universities but without legal certainty and work authorization, their ability to contribute their full potential to the United States will be significantly hampered,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. President of the American Council on Education (ACE) Ted Mitchell expressed similar concerns in a letter sent to the House on Monday, stating that these individuals are “forced to live in an unacceptable political and legal limbo.”
Both McPherson and Mitchell also highlighted a particular concern for Dreamers that is shared by many who support the bill: that Dreamers (a term used to describe young people impacted by DACA and the Dream Act) largely know only of life within the United States. “For many, the United States is the only home they can remember and English the only language they speak,” said McPherson.
The Dream Act will now move to the Senate. The future of the bill is uncertain.