5 lakh Indians to benefit as US passes bills granting citizenship to dreamers and farmworkers: the Tribune India

Washington, March 19

The United States House of Representatives has passed two key bills that would create a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, some migrant farm workers, and children whose parents have legally immigrated to the country , such as those in the H-1B visa program.

The passage of the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, by the House on Thursday by 228 to 197 votes, was hailed by President Joe Biden, who described it as a critical first step in reforming the system. immigration from the country.

It will bring much-needed relief to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and dreamers, young people who came here as children and don’t know any other country, Biden said.

“I support this bill and commend the House of Representatives for passing this important legislation,” Biden said in a statement.

The dreamers are essentially undocumented immigrants who enter the United States as children with their parents. There are nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants, including more than 500,000 from India, according to a policy document released by the Biden campaign last November.

Among other things, the bill also provides relief for “legal dreamers,” the foreign-born children of many non-immigrant workers, including those on H-1B, who lose their legal status once they reach 21 years old, which would allow many other promising young people to pursue their version of the “American Dream”.

The H-1B visa, the most sought after among Indian IT professionals, is a nonimmigrant visa that allows US businesses to employ foreign workers in skilled occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Tech companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees every year in countries like India and China.

The bill now passes through the Senate, which must pass the legislation before it can be enacted by Biden.

“My administration looks forward to working with Congress to do the right thing for the Dreamers and GST holders who contribute so much to our country, and to build a 21st century immigration system based on dignity, security. and fairness … to create a path to citizenship for the undocumented population in the United States, ”Biden said.

The American Dream and Promise Act establishes a path to Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status for DACA beneficiaries and for some people who held or were eligible for TPS or delayed forced departure (DED).

The majority of these people have been in the United States for much of their lives, often with work authorization and temporary deportation protections.

“Five years after achieving full LPR status, individuals are then eligible to apply for citizenship, a path that is supported by nearly 75 percent of the American public …” said Ami Bera, Indian US congressman. .

This legislation protects dreamers and beneficiaries of TPS and DED, honors the fact that immigrants are the constant revitalization of our country, when they come here with their hopes, dreams and aspirations, said the Speaker of the House , Nancy Pelosi.

“These parents bring their children, their hopes and dreams and their aspirations for a better future for their children. This courage, this determination, these aspirations are American traits, and they all make America more American with it all. Indeed, they are true and legitimate heirs, these Dreamers are, of our Founders, ”said Pelosi.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and original sponsor of the Dream Act, said a legislative solution was long overdue for Dreamers who have dedicated their lives to our country, the farm workers undocumented migrants doing back-breaking agricultural work during this pandemic. to keep food on our tables.

“If the Senate could join the House in passing these bipartisan bills, we would be able to enact the most important immigration legislation in over 30 years. I hope we seize this moment, ”he said.

According to FWD.US, undocumented immigrants are one of the largest groups among the essential immigrant workforce, accounting for 5.2 million essential workers, of which nearly one million are Dreamers in the American Dream and Promise Act 2019 who entered the United States as children.

The American Dream and Promise Act also provides relief for “legal dreamers,” the overseas-born children of many non-immigrant workers, including those on H-1B, who sadly lose their legal status at the age of. 21 years old.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act will allow unauthorized farm workers to gain legal status in the United States and update temporary farm worker programs to meet the needs of our economy. Specifically, it will provide H-2A eligibility to employers who have year-round labor needs, which is essential for dairy and livestock, he said.

According to New American Economy, more than 500,000 immigrants eligible for DACA are essential workers, including 62,000 in the health sector alone.

Senator Dianne Feinstein said that since Obama created DACA in 2012 to temporarily protect the Dreamers, more than 800,000 people have signed up for the program. California is home to the largest number of DACA recipients, with more than one in four living in our state.

“These young people did not break the law, many were brought here as babies or grandchildren by their parents. They now go to school, work and pay taxes here in the United States. They are American citizens in everything but name, ”she said. PTI