U.S. Representative Terri A. Sewell (D-Selma) applauded the House passage of H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act. The legislation would provide a path to lawful, permanent residence status and eventual citizenship for Dreamers who meet certain conditions. These would include completing higher education, serving in the military or holding a job. It also provides a path to lawful, permanent residence status and eventual citizenship for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) holders.
“Dreamers and TPS recipients are essential members of communities across the country, working and living alongside us all,” Sewell said. “Dreamers don’t just call America home, it is their home – and in many cases it’s the only one they can remember. Thousands of Dreamers living in Alabama, like Gadsden City High School graduate Fernanda Herera and Samford University graduate Roshell Rosales, were brought to the United States as children. Today we know them as neighbors, coworkers, students and military service members, but, above all, they are Alabamians. I am proud to vote today to provide them with a stable path to citizenship.”
The Dream and Promise Act offers a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS and DED holders who have spent much of their lives in the United States. Alabama is home to over 10,000 immigrants who are eligible for protection under this legislation.
H.R. 6, the American Dream & Promise Act, passed the House in a vote of 237 to 187.
The National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association Jennifer Salina issued a statement after the House passed H.R. 6.
“The HNBA applauds and thanks the many advocates, including many HNBA members, who worked hard to ensure the Dream and Promise Act was passed in the House of Representatives,” said HNBA President Salinas. “This important legislation would offer DREAMers and individuals with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) an opportunity to earn permanent legal status, and eventually, citizenship.”
Sewell’s office said that Alabama Dreamers who are eligible for protection under H.R. 6 arrived in the United States at the age of eight, on average, and have grown up calling the United States home. TPS- and DED-eligible immigrants in Alabama, who would be eligible for protection under the Dream and Promise Act have, on average, lived in the United States since 1997. TPS and DED are programs aimed at protecting individuals whose countries of origin are experiencing ongoing armed conflict, natural disasters or other conditions that prohibit them from safely returning to their native countries.
The Dream and Promise Act provides protections for up to 2.5 million immigrants across the country. Without permanent protections like those outlined in this legislation, these immigrants’ and their families’ futures in the United States – and the fiscal and economic contributions they make – are at risk.
“However, until the Senate acts on this legislation, millions of Americans who have called this country home for most of their lives remain at risk of deportation and separation from their families and communities,” President Salinas said. “These individuals have suffered far too long with this uncertainty. We call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to listen to the majority of the Americans and bring this legislation forward for a full vote and passage, before one more immigrant family is unnecessarily separated.”
Since 1972, the Hispanic National Bar Association has been an incorporated, not-for-profit, national membership association representing the interests of Hispanic attorneys, judges, law professors, legal assistants, law students, and legal professionals in the United States and its territories.
H.R. 6 provides protections to Dreamers, TPS and DED holders who have made the U.S. home.
Critics of the policy argue that giving expedited citizenship to persons who claim to have been brought here illegally as children will allow them to apply to bring over or legalize the rest of their family including their parents who willfully broke U.S. immigration laws. They argue that a mass amnesty for millions of illegal aliens will only encourage more illegal immigration. Critics also argue that giving amnesty without increasing border security first is a flawed policy.
Congresswoman Terri Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.