Rep. Gene Green: Undocumented Youth Deserve a Chance to Earn Citizenship
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Representative Gene Green (D-TX) joined members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and introduced the American Hope Act, legislation that would provide an opportunity for almost 800,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and undocumented youth to earn a pathway toward permanent legal residency and citizenship.
“DACA recipients and DREAMERs are American in every way except on paper and deserve to have a chance to earn permanent residency and eventually citizenship if certain requirements are met,” said Green. “They have grown up in this country and consider themselves to be American, but lack the documents to fully engage in society even though their hard work and social actions unquestionably contribute to our communities and spur economic growth through their successes.”
Since DACA was created in June 2012, recipients have been provided with a temporary reprieve from deportation and renewable two-year work permits. Currently, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading a 10-state coalition, calling for President Trump to end the DACA program before Sept 5th or be sued. The end of DACA and stripping DREAMers of their work permits would shrink our national gross domestic product by $433.4 billion over the next decade, according to the Center for American Progress.
“Texas is home to over 120,000 DACA beneficiaries and Texas’s 29th District is home to one of the largest immigrant populations in the United States,” said Green. “I am proud to work alongside Rep. Luis Gutiérrez and cosponsor the American Hope Act of 2017. This is a commonsense policy that will help thousands of DREAMers in our community and strengthen our economic future.”
The American Hope Act would:
- Allow DACA beneficiaries and other DREAMers to apply for conditional permanent resident status (“CPR status”).
- Allow those granted CPR status to obtain full lawful permanent resident (LPR) status (i.e., a “green card”) after passing a background check. Time spent as a recipient of DACA would count toward the required 3 years with CPR status.
- Provide a 5-year path to U.S. citizenship. Time spent in CPR status would count toward the general 5-year period needed for permanent residents to become eligible for U.S. citizenship.
- Allow minors to apply for CPR status through a legal guardian or counsel.
- Improve college affordability for undocumented youth and other immigrants by repealing rules that limit their access to in-state tuition and college loans.
- Treat all DREAMers brought to the United States as young children the same, regardless of educational level, military service, or work history.