New House Bills Signal Growing Bipartisan Support for Protecting Immigrant Youth

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2017

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Juan Gastelum, 213-375-3149
Hayley Burgess, 202-384-1279

New House Bills Signal Growing Bipartisan Support for Protecting Immigrant Youth

LOS ANGELES — Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives today introduced a new bill, the American Hope Act, that would provide undocumented immigrant youth who have been in the U.S. from a young age with a pathway to U.S. citizenship. The bill, which was crafted with the input of undocumented young immigrants themselves and introduced with 112 cosponsors, would provide permanent protections to immigrant youth regardless of education level, military service, or work history. It follows the bipartisan, bicameral introduction of the Dream Act, which would similarly provide permanent protections under more limited criteria.

The introduction of legislative proposals to protect immigrant youth in both chambers of Congress comes in the midst of uncertainty about the Trump administration’s plans for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which has authorized nearly 800,000 young immigrants to live and work in the U.S. temporarily since 2012. President Trump has said that immigrant youth can “rest easy,” but his administration has targeted DACA recipients and made conflicting statements about the future of the program.

Ignacia Rodriguez, an immigration policy advocate with the National Immigration Law Center, issued the following statement:

“The American Hope Act underscores that the starting point for any conversation about policies that have broad impact on people’s lives should be a recognition of value in every person. It embodies the principle—dignity—that should be at the core of any proposal to protect undocumented immigrant youth.

“We are encouraged by the bill’s introduction, as well as that of other legislative proposals that demonstrate broad, bipartisan support for immigrant youth who have fought for the opportunity to stay in their communities and pursue their full potential.

“However, these bills and the lives of the people they would directly impact should not be held ransom for more border militarization. And, crucially, we must continue to uphold DACA, which has been a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and benefitted our country as a whole.”

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