Dream and Promise Act: An Important Step Forward for Our Communities (The Torch)

An Important Step Forward for Our Communities

MARCH 14, 2019

Earlier this week, a bill — the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 — was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would provide long-overdue, permanent relief to people who have become even more vulnerable since President Trump and his administration stripped them of protections from deportation.

By providing permanent protections and a pathway to U.S. citizenship for Dreamers and people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or temporary protected status (TPS) or deferred enforced departure (DED), this bill combines prior efforts to protect these populations. It recognizes that, in many ways, the people who comprise these communities are similarly impacted and, in some cases, are even part of the same households. It also importantly combines efforts to advocate alongside all these communities and build stronger alliances. While the Trump administration seeks to dismantle our immigration system with death by a thousand cuts to our communities, it’s important that we fight back, together.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) joined forces with Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), who’d previously championed their own bills to protect people with TPS and DED, to introduce a strong bill that would provide the long-overdue protections these communities have needed, but that now are more urgently needed than ever. We know Trump is intent on stripping our communities of protections so that they are left vulnerable to detention and deportation — and that is exactly why the Dream and Promise Act is timely.

While there are aspects of the bill we are committed to making stronger, we believe the introduction of this bill is a major step forward in securing protections we need, and we hope you will join us in urging your members of Congress to support this bill. Here’s why:

The Dream and Promise Act provides a clear, attainable pathway to U.S. citizenship. For Dreamers, people with DACA, TPS, or DED, and others eligible for such statuses who may not have applied, the United States is their home — and, in many cases, has been for decades. We are integral members of our communities and have a future here. By providing permanent protections and a pathway to citizenship for these communities, this legislation recognizes that we are Americans in all but “paper” and deserve to live our lives with security and stability in the place we call home.

The bill does not trade granting protections to some communities for funding harm to others. This is a critical point. This bill does not trade protections for immigrant youth and people with TPS or DED for further militarization of our border communities or expanded immigration policing of our communities or detention of immigrants — a tradeoff that would only inflict more pain on our communities and result in more deportations. It also does not make any changes to existing channels of immigration in exchange for protections.

The Dream and Promise Act shows that our communities will fight together, not against each other. By providing protections for immigrant youth and people with TPS or DED, we are making it clear that our communities cannot be pitted against each other in Trump’s policy games. We are not pawns in some game. And together, we will raise our voices and win the protections we deserve.

We hope you will join us in this fight for permanent protections for our communities. We can’t do this without you, and we hope we can count on you to celebrate and keep up the fight until all our communities get the protections they deserve.

Diana Pliego is a NILC policy associate and a DACA recipient.

A short summary of the bill is available at www.nilc.org/summary-of-dream-and-promise-act-of-2019/.