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House Passes Bill That Would Allow Undocumented Americans To Earn U.S. Citizenship

 

By Carlos Sanchez

 

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act and The Farm Workforce Modernization Act. While these bills must make their way through the Senate and a potential filibuster, they present the best opportunity to legally recognize the millions of undocumented Americans who are already an integral part of our social and moral fabric. If passed, these undocumented Americans will for the first time have the opportunity to earn citizenship through education, military service, agricultural labor, and humanitarian relief. This will be the first step Congress will take in an attempt to overhaul the overall U.S. immigration system.

 
The Dream and Promise Act
The U.S. House of Representatives passed The Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6), which includes both provisions that affect Dreamers as well as those who have been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). This bill affects noncitizens who came to the US as children, as well as those who sought refuge in the U.S. from natural disasters or armed conflicts.
 
The Dream act portion of the bill gives undocumented high school graduates and GED recipients the opportunity to earn citizenship through college, work, or the armed services as part of a three-step process. In its current form, an individual needs to have entered the US before turning 18, have continuously resided here since January 20, 2021, have met the education requirements, and not have committed certain crimes. See this fact sheet for more information.
 
The TPS and DED portion of the bill allows those in each respective status to apply for green cards immediately if they have resided in the US for at least three years and were eligible for TPS on September 17, 2017, or had deferred enforced departure status as of January 20, 2021. After five years of holding a green card, they would be able to apply for citizenship. See this fact sheet for more information about TPS and DED.
 
 
The Farm Workforce Modernization Act

“We wanted a labour force, but human beings came” – Max Frisch. As has been the case for much of modern history, often when people move elsewhere for work they develop ties to the people, community, and society at large, creating an issue for those who choose to stay but do not have legal status to do so. The Farm Workforce Modernization act will attempt to change some of those dynamics by creating a process for farmworkers to earn a temporary status as a Certified Agricultural Worker. Individuals could earn this new status if they can show they’ve worked at least 180 days in agriculture over the last two years. Spouses and children of undocumented farmworkers could also apply for temporary status under the act. Individuals could then get a green card after paying a $1,000 fine and completing additional agriculture work. The length of additional work would depend on how they have already worked in the farming industry in the U.S.  

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