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FCNL calls on Congress and the Biden administration to rebuild our immigration system with a new path to citizenship for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients, and countless other families who have waited too long for a permanent legislative solution.

We support all equitable, inclusive, and fair legislative vehicles that move us closer to this end.

Currently, these include:

The U.S. Citizenship Act (USCA) of 2021 (H.R. 1177/S. 348)

At the center of this comprehensive immigration reform bill is a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The bill provides Dreamers, TPS holders, and some farmworkers with an expedited, three-year path to citizenship, while making them directly eligible for green cards.

All other undocumented immigrants can apply for a temporary legal status, establishing them as a “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” or LPI. This would provide immigrants who were present in the United States before Jan. 1, 2021 with a process to become legal permanent residents and eventually citizens.

The secretary of homeland security could waive that Jan. 1 date requirement for those who were deported under the Trump administration and were physically present for at least three years prior to removal (if they meet all other requirements).  You can read more about the bill here.

American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6)

The Dream and Promise Act would create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth who came to the United States before Jan. 1, 2021, were under 18 years old when they arrived, and have stayed in the United States since they arrived. The legislation would grant Dreamers conditional permanent resident status for 10 years and cancel removal proceedings if they meet a certain criterion. To gain full lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, Dreamers must meet an additional education, work, or military service requirement.

4.4 million immigrants could be permanently protected under the bill.

The bill would also create a pathway to citizenship for people who have been present in the United States for at least three years and who, on Jan. 1, 2017, had or were eligible for TPS or had DED as of Jan. 20, 2021. This bill would grant individuals with TPS and DED with LPR status.

An estimated 4.4 million immigrants could be permanently protected under the bill. Even though this current version of the bill expands the number of people eligible for relief, it does not separate immigration consequences from the criminal legal system. Read more on the criminal bars and eligibility requirements for the Dream and Promise Act.

The Dream Act (S. 264) and The Secure Act (S. 306)

Sens. Dick Durbin (IL) and Lindsay Graham (SC) introduced the Dream Act in the Senate. It seeks to provide a roadmap to citizenship for nearly three million undocumented youth.

Separately, Sen. Chris Van Hollen (MD) introduced the Secure Act. Under this bill, all TPS and DED recipients who qualified under the most recent designation and who have been continuously present in the United States for at least three years would be eligible to apply for legal permanent residency.

We urge the Senate to combine these two bills and provide a pathway to citizenship for all Dreamers, TPS and DED holders.

Maria Isabel (Marisa) Leon-Gomez

Marisa León-Gómez Sonet

Legislative Associate, Immigration & Refugee Program

Marisa León-Gómez Sonet served as FCNL’s Legislative Associate for the immigration and refugee program for 2020-2021.