Congresswoman Suzan DelBene (WA-01) this week joined Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez (IL-04) and Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) in introducing the American Hope Act, which would provide Dreamers a conditional pathway to citizenship.
“I strongly support an earned path to citizenship for young people who are already here, otherwise following the law, working or going to school and making positive contributions to our communities, which is why I support the American Hope Act,” DelBene said. “There is one Dreamer from my community that I’ve gotten to know particularly well, Andres Macedo. Like so many others, Andres was brought to the United States as a child at only nine-years-old. This bill would have a dramatic effect on the lives of students like him, who simply want to pursue their dreams right at home. We should be supporting, not deporting people like Andres.”
Nearly 800,000 children brought to this country by their parents – called Dreamers – have known no other home than the United States. President Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to give these young people some certainty and allow them to study, work and contribute to our society. Unfortunately, DACA is under attack putting immigrant youth at risk of deportation to countries they likely don’t even remember.
The American Hope Act would:
- Allow DACA beneficiaries and other immigrant youth 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 three years if they stay out of legal trouble. Time spent as a recipient of DACA would count toward the required three years with CPR status.
- Provide a five-year path to U.S. citizenship. Time spent in CPR status would count toward the general five-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 immigrant youth who arrived in the United States as children the same, regardless of educational level, military service or work history.
As a former member of the House Judiciary Committee, DelBene led efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform by helping introduce the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15) in the 113th Congress.