WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas

(AP Foto/Jose Luis Magaña)

27 Mar 2019 | Press Release

U.S. Senate Introduces Key Protections for Immigrants in Two Bills

Congress Should Promptly Pass DREAM and SECURE Acts in Unison to Protect Immigrant Communities and Uphold U.S. Interests

Washington, DC—On March 26, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced the Dream Act of 2019, which would allow immigrant students who were brought to the U.S. the ability to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship. That same day, Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.) introduced the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act. This legislation would allow qualified Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients to apply for legal permanent residency.

In response to the introduction of the bills, Geoff Thale, Vice President for Programs at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), issued the following statement:

“With the Trump administration’s brash decision to terminate these legal protection programs, the fate of over a million immigrant families has become extremely urgent. While President Trump created this mess, if hard-working Dreamers, TPS, or DED recipients are forced to return to dangerous conditions in countries they do not call home, Congress will share the blame.”

Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives introduced the Dream and Promise Act of 2019. With 218 cosponsors, the legislation would provide a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 2.5 million DACA recipients and DACA-eligible individuals, TPS holders, and DED recipients.

“The American public believes Congress should protect their longtime neighbors, friends, and colleagues with DACA, TPS and DED,” said Thale. “Both chambers must prioritize passing these pieces of legislation, without any concessions that further terrorize immigrant communities or waste taxpayer dollars on a border security build-up.”