Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) helped pass the American Dream and Promise Act, which offers a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who have spent the majority of their lives in the United States – those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
“DREAMers are our servicemembers and veterans, taxpayers, business owners, community leaders and neighbors. It’s past time we provide them a stable, legal pathway to citizenship,” Congresswoman Bustos said. “For years, fixing this broken part of our immigration system has had broad bipartisan support – it makes economic sense and it’s the right thing to do for these families and our nation as a whole. I’m proud to support this commonsense bill and help our nation finally take a next step in providing DREAMers with an earned path to citizenship.”
Today’s vote comes as part of a historic immigration package to help fix our broken immigration system and support bipartisan, commonsense reform. Congresswoman Bustos will also vote to pass the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act today, which would stabilize the agricultural sector and the health and safety of our national food supply by ensuring farmers can meet their labor needs well into the future.
Illinois is home to 103,600 immigrants who are eligible for protection under the Dream and Promise Act. Together, they contribute approximately $759,600,000 in federal taxes and $547,900,000 in state and local taxes annually. These households generate $3,292,900,000 in spending power.
This legislation establishes a process for eligible DREAMers to be granted conditional lawful permanent resident (LPR) status for 10 years if they:
- Have been continuously physically present in the U.S. for four years preceding the date of the enactment of the bill;
- Were under 18 years old on the initial date of entry into the U.S.;
- Are not inadmissible on national security or criminal grounds (see section on national security and criminal bars below);
- Graduate from high school, obtain a GED or industry-recognized credential; or are in a program assisting students to obtain a high school diploma, GED or equivalent exam, or are in an apprenticeship program.
- Pass security and law enforcement background checks and pay a reasonable application fee.
Then, to gain full lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, DREAMers must:
- Acquire a degree from a U.S. institution of higher education; or complete at least two years in good standing in a bachelor’s or higher degree program or in an area career and technical education program at a post-secondary level in the U.S.; or
- Complete at least two years of military service, and if discharged, received an honorable discharge; or
- Be employed for periods of time totaling at least three years and at least 75 percent of the time the person having had employment authorization.
A DREAMer who has obtained full lawful permanent resident (LPR) status must then wait another five years before applying for citizenship.