Fresh off a defeat to President Donald Trump in their push to stop a border wall, congressional Democrats are back with an immigration reform plan that would have a huge impact on San Antonio, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Dream and Promise Act, authored by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Yvette Clarke (D-NY), would provide permanent status and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status holders. It's a combination of the Dream Act and a plan to allow those seeking asylum from war-torn countries to apply for permanent legal status.
There are about 180,000 migrants brought to the U.S. as kids who live in Texas who, and would be impacted by the bill. Ilsy Rivas is one of them. She was born in El Salvador, but was brought to the U.S. when she was six years old, and is allowed to live in Houston under Temporary Protective Status.
"America is my home. It's the only place I know, and the thought of going back to El Salvador is terrifying. For me, it would be going to the unknown."
About 8,500 of those dreamers and TPS holders live in Congressman Joaquin Castro’s 20th congressional district, which runs from San Antonio up I-35 to Austin.
"An overwhelming majority of Texans and Americans support the dream act. We know the support is across party lines," he says. "Unfortunately for the past several years, they have been living in a legal limbo."
Nationwide, a study by the Center for American Progress estimates that 2.5 million Dreamers and Temporary Protected Status holders would be eligible for protection under the Act. Their households contribute $75.4 billion in spending power and pay $27.1 billion in annual taxes.
The average TPS recipient has lived in the United States for 22 years, while the average Dreamer who received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status came to the United States at age 6.
Even if the bill passes the Democrat-controlled House, it has little chance of survival. President Trump has already moved to end the DACA program, which Dreamers from deportation. The Temporary Protective Status program is also being phased out as well.
The authors, speaking at a press conference this week, say the will push forward. Rep. Velázquez told reporters these migrants need protection.
"We are not going to allow Donald Trump to send them back, and we are not going to ask them to live in a constant state of fear and uncertainty."