June 4, 2019

Quick Takes (v37): Immigration Bill Passes

I've been one of those people calling for the House of Representatives to do something other than investigate the president, and just a short while ago, I found out that the actually did something.

Yep -- they passed an immigration bill.

The bill - H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, focuses on those who were brought here illegally as children, and looks to provide a path to citizenship for some 2 million immigrants - and while there's little chance that it will see the light of day in the obstructionist Senate, should there be some warp or wrinkle in the space-time continuum and it actually does make it through the Senate, it will certainly be vetoed by the president.

Here's what the bill would do:
The House-passed bill would protect from deportation and provide a pathway toward citizenship for young immigrants brought to the US illegally as children. 
These are the ones some people suggest should be sent "back home" - but many of them have only ever known the United States as home, and as a result have no home to return to.
Many would be "Dreamers" currently safeguarded by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which only the federal courts have thwarted Trump from dismantling. 
It would also shield others here temporarily because their home countries - chiefly in Central America, Africa and the Middle East - have been ravaged by wars or natural disasters. 
You may recall the president mentioning 'shit-hole countries' in the past -- those are where the folks with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) are from.

The Congressional Budget Office said it could cost over $30B over ten years, primarily because many of the folks who would benefit under the bill would be eligible for federal benefits once they receive legal status. Supporters - including the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO - say that these folks will help our economy, not hurt us.

So, how would this work? Here's a quick summary.
  • immigrants who were younger than 18 when they arrived, and who have lived in the US continuously for the past four years would be eligible, and
  • must have either an American high school diploma or a GED, and
  • they must pass a background check (serious felonies are disqualifying).
To get on the path to citizenship, those who meet the eligibility requirements
  • must earn a college degree, complete two years of a degree program (higher education or technical school) or
  • have served honorably in the US military or
  • have been employed for more than three years.
And those here under TPS? They'd be able to gain permanent residency if they've been here for more than three years when the legislation is enacted and if they have a clean record - no felonies and no more than a single misdemeanor. 

So, is it worth it for the Dems to pass this kind of bill, with Republican help, knowing that it's DOA in the Senate?  

Yes - yes it is.  They have to prove that they can actually legislate, instead of just investigating the living daylights out of Trump. 

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