The American Dream and Promise Act passed by the House of Representatives last month has been placed on the Senate’s legislative calendar. However, the latest Dream Act legislation, which offers permanent protections and a path to citizenship for Dreamers and recipients of Temporary Protected Status, faces an uphill battle.
All House Democrats along with seven Republicans voted for the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019. However, most observers say the prospects for the legislation reaching a vote in Senate remains slim. Moreover, even if the Senate approves the Dream Act, President Trump has threatened to veto the legislation.
The American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 would grant 10 years of conditional permanent residency to undocumented immigrants who:
- Arrived in the U.S. before the age of 18, which includes recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as well as an estimated 1.6 million immigrants who are eligible for DACA but are not enrolled;
- Have lived in the U.S. for at least the past four years;
- Do not have a felony conviction or three misdemeanors involving 90 days of jail time; and,
- Meet other requirements, such as passing a background check.
These undocumented immigrants would be eligible to apply for a green card after doing any of the following:
- Completing at least two years of higher education or military service;
- Working for three years; or,
- Getting a degree from an institution of higher education.
The Dream Act would also enable an estimated 300,000 Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders or about 3,600 Liberians who hold Deferred Enforcement Departure (DED) status to apply for green cards. Like any other green card holder, these individuals could apply for citizenship after five years.
Since Trump became president, Dreamers and TPS holders have lived in fear that the programs that have allowed them to remain in the U.S. would end. Dreamers and TPS recipients are integral to the economy.
Many TPS recipients are employed in industries including construction, restaurants, landscaping, childcare, driving and delivery. TPS holders contribute about $3.6 billion in federal, state, and local taxes annually and possess more than $10.1 billion in spending power, according to the Center for American Progress.
Contrary to popular belief, undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Although they are ineligible to receive Social Security benefits, many still pay Social Security tax. All pay sales taxes. Many pay Medicare taxes, federal and state income taxes. Undocumented immigrants working in the U.S. contribute about $11.7 billion in state and local taxes annually, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team knows that immigration yields innovation. Until the Dream Act become law, we can help you, your company, your employees, and your family find the best immigration option. Reach out to us.