Thursday, March 4, 2021
Immigration Bills in Congress: Reintroduction of the Dream and Promise Act and Farm Workforce Modernization Act Reintroduced
Comprehensive immigration reform is before Congress in the form of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which is backed by the Biden administration.
As Sister Simone Campbell mentioned in our discussion last week, other bills are being introduced addressing specific immigration issues. Yesterday, two immigration bills were introduced -- actually re-introduced -- in the House of Representatives.
The American Dream and Promise Act (HR 6) was re-introduced by U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40). The bill, coauthored by Representatives Nydia Velázquez (NY-07) and Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), will enable U.S.-raised immigrant youth known as “Dreamers” to earn lawful permanent residence and American citizenship. The Dream and Promise Act also includes protections and a path to citizenship for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries. The sponsors of the legislation state that "[t]he reintroduction of H.R. 6 is part of the strategy to further prioritize efforts to secure permanent citizenship for Dreamers, TPS recipients, and DED beneficiaries alongside the larger immigration bill.
U.S. Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) reintroduced the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, H.R. 1537, which, according to the sponsors, "creates a workforce solution for the U.S. agriculture industry by providing stability, predictability, and fairness to one of the most critical sectors of our nation’s economy." The bill passed the House of Representatives in the 116th Congress. It aims to make "meaningful reforms to the H-2A agricultural guestworker program and creates a first-of-its-kind, merit-based visa program specifically designed for the nation’s agricultural sector. "
The original bill was negotiated in 2019 with input from farmers, agricultural stakeholders, labor organizations, and farmworker advocates. In December 2019, it became the first agriculture labor reform legislation to pass the House of Representatives since 1986.
UPDATE (March 4 11;15 A.M. PST): Human Rights Watch criticizes some of the criminal exclusions in the new DREAM Act.