On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed a hopeful but likely doomed bill that would offer more than 2 million undocumented migrants a path to permanent residency, despite the fact that it stands almost no chance of making it through the Senate.
Still, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019, introduced in March, passed by a margin of 237-to-187. All 230 Democrats supported the bill, and seven Republicans broke ranks to vote for it. According to the Washington Post,
The measure would provide long-awaited clarity to the millions of dreamers who have been caught in legal limbo amid years of partisan maneuvering on the issue. The Obama administration granted work permits to many of them through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, but President Trump ended the program in late 2017. Its fate rests with the Supreme Court, which may take up the issue in the coming months.
Versions of the bill have been introduced to Congress repeatedly over the years, though none have successfully passed. Now, Democrats are addressing the issue with renewed urgency as the Trump administration ratchets up the aggression of its anti-immigrant policies.
Members of the House were, per usual, starkly divided on what the bill would mean for the country. Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat from Colorado and the son of Eritrean refugees, received a standing ovation when he quoted Ronald Reagan as saying that immigration is integral to the fabric of America, and that dreamers are “young people all across our country who know no other home but the United States.”
“We can’t allow these young people to continue to live in fear, to be at risk,” Neguse said.
Meanwhile, Republicans felt...differently!
“This bill, to my mind, would ruin America,” said Wisconsin Rep. Glenn Grothman, according to the Boston Globe. White House aides also sent a letter to lawmakers threatening a Trump veto, saying it would “incentivize and reward illegal immigration” without “protecting our communities and defending our borders.”
He probably shouldn’t bother: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn’t even mention the bill at a weekly news conference on Tuesday.
The bill would also offer protections to people with temporary protected status, which has historically included people from El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras and others as their own countries are torn apart by war and natural disasters.