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Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul is joining California Democrat Sen. Alex Padilla to introduce legislation that would put “documented DREAMers” on a path to permanent residency.
The bipartisan bill would allow more than 200,000 people who came to the U.S. as children and graduated from American universities to apply for a green card.
“We cannot turn our backs on the ‘Documented Dreamers’ who have spent most of their lives in this country, contributing to their communities and our economy but face continued uncertainty and risk deportation once they turn 21,” Padilla, who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s immigration panel, said in a statement.
“In particular, the legislation would help young adults, largely Indian citizens, who turned 21 while their parents were stuck waiting in lengthy green card backlogs caused by strict per-country visa caps the U.S. imposes,” Roll Call reported.
“In addition to giving these individuals a chance to apply for a green card on their own, the bill would prevent similar problems in the future by freezing kids’ ages at the time their parents apply for the family’s permanent residency, rather than when the green card actually becomes available,” the report added.
Paul said children who were raised in the U.S. with legal immigration status “shouldn’t be penalized by the government’s failures in addressing green card backlogs.”
“These children who have legally called the United States home for many years and even decades, are contributing members in our communities and to our economy,” he continued.
Roll Call reported:
The bill would also help people who grew up in the U.S. as derivative family members of the holders of high-skilled work visas that do not create a path to a green card, such as the E visas for investors and TN visas for Mexican and Canadian professionals.
The legislation was offered as Democrats plow forward on efforts to establish a pathway to permanent residency for millions of immigrants, including those brought to the U.S. as children and often referred to as “Dreamers,” through a Senate procedure allowing measures to pass with a filibuster-proof majority.
Back in July, the Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has been dealt a tough blow by a federal judge.
A federal judge in Texas put a stop to the initiative by former President Obama that granted work permits and protected migrants who came to the United States as minors from deportation, The Washington Post reported.
But the judge ruled that new applications may not be granted.
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen, a Republican appointee, sided with Texas and other states in his ruling that President Barack Obama (D) overstepped his executive authority when he created the program in 2012.
Hanen’s ruling called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, an “illegally implemented program” and said, “the public interest of the nation is always served by the cessation of a program that was created in violation of law and whose existence violates the law.”
He issued a permanent injunction vacating the memo that created DACA in 2012 and remanded the issue to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for reconsideration.
Republican officials from Texas and several other states had sued and called for an “orderly wind-down” of the program, arguing that it was unlawful and burdened states with costs for health care, education, and law enforcement.
But, the judge said, he would not take the protections away from those who are currently benefitting from the program.