Led by President Joe Biden, Democrats have made quite clear in recent years that they want to open up America’s borders — and if given the chance, it’s not a stretch to assume they’d roll out the welcome mat to any and all who wish to migrate to the United States.
Right in line with that goal, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted 228–197 on Thursday to pass H.R. 6, a bill that would provide a path to citizenship to so-called “Dreamers” and grant legal status to other undocumented migrants who fall into certain categories.
Permanent lawful status
According to Fox News, nine Republicans joined the entire caucus of House Dems in voting for the measure, which would allow the estimated 3 million “Dreamers” enrolled in the controversial Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — typically, undocumented migrants who arrived in the U.S. as children — a pathway to legal status.
Known as the Dream and Promise Act of 2021, or H.R. 6, the bill would grant a “conditional permanent resident status” to eligible DACA recipients and protect them from deportation.
Fox News reports:
[The] legislation grants the young immigrants conditional permanent resident status for 10 years and cancels removal proceedings if they pass a background check, pay fees, and graduate from high school. They’re eligible for full green card status if they meet more requirements such as a college degree, military service, or three years of employment.
H.R. 6 would also offer a path to lawful permanent resident status to migrants who have obtained Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), provided that they meet certain eligibility requirements, Fox notes.
Also included in the bill are a number of other measures reportedly designed to shield migrants from deportation while their applications for relief are processed.
According to Roll Call, the nine Republicans who voted in support of the measure were Reps. Don Bacon (NE), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Carlos Gimenez (FL), Dan Newhouse (WA), Maria Elvira Salazar (FL), Christopher Smith (NJ), Fred Upton (MI), and David Valadao (CA). But even they were willing to admit the legislation is far from ideal.
In an interview with Roll Call, Rep. Upton said candidly that H.R. 6 is “not a perfect bill,” but that he feels sympathetic to Dreamers. Meanwhile, Rep. Salazar cited a desire to extend an olive branch to progressives as her reasoning for backing the bill.
“I want to send the right message to the Democrats that I’m willing to work with them. Let’s see if now they’re going to work with us,” she told reporters, according to Roll Call.
GOP leadership in the House seems to feel differently, however. “When you have a crisis at the border, the last thing you should do is make it worse,” House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (LA) said of the legislation, according to Fox. “That’s what this bill does.”
H.R. 6 will now move on to the evenly-split Senate, where a partisan fight is likely to erupt as Democrats seek to convince at least 10 Republicans to advance the measure to the president’s desk.