Advocating for Congress to Pass H.R. 6: The Dream and Promise Act of 2019
April 17, 2019
The Dream and Promise Act of 2019, H.R. 6, was recently introduced in the House of Representatives. This legislation establishes a roadmap to U.S. citizenship for (1) immigrant youth and (2) current or potential holders of (a) temporary protected status (TPS) or (b) deferred enforced departure (DED). The bill provides conditional permanent resident (CPR) status and a roadmap to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status and, eventually, U.S. citizenship for immigrant youth who entered the U.S. before age 18, have four or more years of residency, and graduated from high school (or the equivalent). In addition, it provides an opportunity for people who currently have or who may be eligible for TPS or DED who have three or more years of residency to apply for LPR status and, eventually, U.S. citizenship. This common sense legislation mends the gap in access to citizenship and allows our immigrant sisters and brothers to receive legal protections that will allow them to continue to thrive.
Dreamers, TPS, and DED holders have lived in the United States for years. They are an integral part of our society. For example, in 1990, Salvadorans were given TPS and many have lived in the United States since then. Individuals from other countries were also given similar protection in response to emergency conditions in countries impacted by war, famine or natural disaster. Likewise, Dreamers have lived the majority of their lives in the U.S. and some have been protected by DACA since 2012. DACA, TPS, and DED programs have allowed these immigrants to work in the U.S. and shielded from deportation. In return, they have contributed billions to our economy, started American families, and integrated into American culture.
How does H.R. 6 help immigrant youth?
- Longer CPR status. Extends the length of CPR status from eight to ten years to give applicants more time to fulfill requirements.
- Expands stays of removal. Stays the removal of minors who are not yet eligible for relief but may become eligible in the future and who temporarily unenroll from school.
- Better hardship standard. Permits people with CPR to obtain LPR status without satisfying the employment, military, or educational tracks if their deportation would cause “hardship” to themselves or immediate family members (instead of “extreme hardship”).
- Apprenticeship eligibility. Includes apprenticeship programs as a qualifying education to obtain CPR status.
- No medical examination. Eliminates the costly medical examination for applicants.
- Caps fee. Establishes a fee ceiling of $495 for immigrant youth applying for CPR status.
- Professional licenses. Clarifies that people with CPR can access professional, commercial, and business licenses.
- Career and technical education. Permits people with CPR who obtain a certificate or credential from an area career and technical education school to obtain LPR status.
- Criminal and inadmissibility bars. Updates the criminal background bars and inadmissibility requirements.1
Additionally, H.R. 6 has the following provisions that are similar to the Dream Act of 2017:
- LPR status. Provides LPR status to CPR holders who: (1) serve in the uniformed services for two years, (2) complete two years at or obtain a degree from an institution of higher education, or (3) work 75 percent of the time in CPR status (with flexible evidentiary burdens such as affidavits).
- Removes barriers to in-state tuition. Makes it easier for states to provide in-state tuition to immigrant students.
- Federal financial aid. Establishes that CPR-holders are eligible for federal loans, work study, services, but not grants.
How does H.R. 6 help people with TPS or DED?
- LPR status. Provides LPR status for people with TPS or DED (and those who were eligible but did not apply) who apply within three years from the date of enactment if they (1) had at least three years of continuous residence (as well as residence since the date required the last time that the person’s nation of origin was designated) and (2) were eligible for or had (a) TPS on Sept. 25, 2016, or (b) DED on Sept. 28, 2016. This includes nationals of 13 countries: El Salvador, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Liberia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
- Inspection and admission. Classifies people with TPS or DED as inspected and admitted for the purposes of Immigration & Nationality Act (INA) section 245(a), making it easier to obtain LPR status through existing channels (e.g., a family-based petition).
- Stay of removal. Stays the removal (deportation) of individuals while an application is pending.
- Caps fee. Establishes a fee ceiling of $1,140 for people with TPS or DED applying for LPR status.
- Transparency for TPS. Requires the secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide an explanation for and report within three days of publishing notice to terminate TPS designation for certain nationals.
How does H.R. 6 help both immigrant youth and people with TPS or DED?
- Deported immigrants eligible. Enables certain immigrant youth deported under the Trump administration and people who had TPS or DED who were deported as of September 2016 to apply for relief from abroad.
- Protections for detained and non-detained. Allows immigrants in deportation proceedings, including those in detention, to apply for relief under the INA and protects eligible applicants from deportation.
- Administrative review. Provides robust administrative and judicial review of denials.
- Grant program. Establishes a grant program for nonprofit organizations to assist applicants.
- Fee exemption. Provides a narrow fee exemption for applicants who meet certain requirements.
- Advance parole and employment authorization. Allows individuals with a pending application to apply for advance parole and employment authorization (a work permit).
- Adjustment through existing channels. Clarifies that individuals may apply for LPR status through existing legal pathways, such as through family- or employment-based sponsorship.
- Confidentiality provisions. Protects the information submitted by applicants (and all DACA requests) from disclosure.
NETWORK is working to get every Democratic member in the House to co-sponsor the bill and to find Republican co-sponsors as well.
Now is the time for all of us to ask our Members of Congress to support H.R. 6.