Democrats in the House of Representatives seem determined to keep their campaign promises and give the Latinx and immigrant community the answers to the needs that brought them to the polls in November.
Last Thursday, the House overwhelmingly passed the Dream and Promise Act, two key bills to change the U.S. immigration system.
While both bills have an uncertain future in the Senate, they would create a pathway to permanent residency and eventual citizenship for Dreamers and people with temporary protected status, NPR explained.
The bills passed by a 228-197 vote, giving a boost to the broad immigration proposal put forward by President Biden at the beginning of his term.
“Millions in this country live in fear, holding their breaths every day, that they could be deported to faraway lands that are not their homes,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Thursday. “Because America is their home. For Dreamers, it has been their home since their earliest days. And today, this House is going to take action – as we did last Congress – to help them breathe easier.”
As NPR continues, Thursday’s votes took place amid a turbulent week on both sides of the aisle, especially over the border’s immigration situation.
On Monday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy led a dozen Republican lawmakers on a visit to the southern border in El Paso and blamed President Biden for the surge of migrants at the border.
Afterward, Democratic Rep. Veronica Escobar said the GOP delegation used her district as an “accessory” and that the number of unaccompanied migrant children had increased during the Trump administration and was not adequately addressed.
In an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition on Wednesday, she pushed back against the GOP’s message that Biden’s inauguration drives the increase.
“The drive to get here, the impulse to get here, the necessity to get here, it doesn’t change depending on who’s in the White House,” she said.
However, getting the Dream and Promise Act past the Republican filibuster in the Senate will be a near-impossible mission.
Next week, Texas Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz will meet with House Speaker John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz will lead a Senate delegation to tour the Texas-Mexico border and meet with local officials. Both have aimed at the Biden administration, telling reporters in recent days that immigrants trying to enter the U.S. illegally are not facing the consequences, and that is fueling a surge at the border.
House Republicans are also filing their rejoinder to the Democrats’ immigration plans. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Florida, presented her own immigration proposal during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday.
For pro-immigrant organizations like Families Belong Together, however, the passage of the Dream and Promise Act in the House is a critical step toward solving one of the country’s most severe problems.
“We applaud the House’s decisive action to support the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act,” said FBT Chair Jess Morales Rocketto in a statement. “Passing these bills is a critical first step in creating a path to citizenship for millions of young immigrants, essential workers, and TPS holders, all of whom have called the United States home. It’s beyond time for the law to protect these millions of people who continue to contribute to communities across this country every day.”
“Now it is up to the Senate to move these bills forward and protect the people we call our neighbors, colleagues, and friends. We will continue to advocate for this type of sensible immigration legislation every step of the way. We will not stop until we have an immigration system rooted in compassion, belonging, and dignity for those that call our country home.”