Almost two dozen House Democrats are pushing on congressional leaders to include a pathway to citizenship not only for undocumented immigrants in their budget reconciliation measure but also for foreign citizens who grew up in the U.S. legally.
The lawmakers asked Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., to establish a path to green cards for people raised and educated in the U.S. as dependents on their parents’ work visas but who find themselves without the status of their own when turning 21.
These young people often referred to as “documented Dreamers,” must then switch to student visas if they are in college, and then hope to find an employer to sponsor them for limited work visas. If they can’t, many have to leave their families and “self-deport” to a country they may not even remember.
“There is strong bipartisan support for providing relief to Documented Dreamers, and we ask that you consider including all Dreamers — both those who came to this country without documentation as well as young people who have maintained status as dependents — in any upcoming reconciliation bill,” the lawmakers wrote in their Monday letter, led by Rep. Deborah K. Ross, D-N.C.
“I met some of these documented Dreamers, and it’s just heartbreaking that they would grow up here, and then have to be ripped away from their families and go back to a country that they don’t even know because our system is so flawed,” Ross said in an interview.
The bill would also protect some of the children of work visa holders in the future by freezing their ages at the time of their parent’s green card application, preventing them from aging out while they wait in a backlog.
A $3.5 Million Bill & Immigration
Instructions attached Monday to Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation measure directed the Judiciary Committee to include a path to permanent status for “qualified immigrants.”
When asked last week about documented Dreamers who age out of their parents’ green card applications, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the idea is “not in the current discussions” on reconciliation, “but it is something the President would like to address.”
“I think if immigration is included in reconciliation, the word has gone out not to leave these folks behind,” she said.