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It’s Time for a Swift Passage of the Dream Act as First Step Toward Legalization of All 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants

WASHINGTON – The National Partnership for New Americans calls for quick passage of the latest version of the Dream Act, introduced today by Senators Dick Durban (D-Ill.) and Linsey Graham (R- S.C.) in the U.S. Senate. The legislation would provide a pathway to citizenship to over 2 million undocumented people, including current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, those eligible to apply for DACA, and other immigrant youth.

Advocates, including the NPNA a leading national coalition of 41 immigrant and refugee rights organizations, have continuously called for a permanent solution for DACA recipients, undocumented youth, and all undocumented immigrants. Congressional leadership is needed here, especially considering that DACA was created by executive action, the previous administration unlawfully attempted to terminate it, and is under threat by conservative judges. 

2021 brings renewed hope for immigrant communities. The introduction of the bi-partisan Dream Act is the first step towards justice for immigrant families,” said Erendira Rendon, vice president of immigrant advocacy & defense for The Resurrection Project, NPNA Board Member and a DACA recipient. “I have placed hope on the Dream Act for 20 years and truly feel this is the year we will cross the finish line. Advocates will do our part and we expect our legislators to legislate and pass the Dream Act of 2021.

Congress must also pass legislation to guarantee a path to citizenship for other immigrants, because the American public is on the side of immigrants on this issue. According to a recent PRRI poll, 80 percent of Americans back permanent legal status for undocumented immigrants, including a 64 percent majority that support citizenship.

“The American Dream & Promise Act is a step in the right direction. We need to continue to fight to get it to pass by Congress because it will bring permanent protection for DACA recipients, TPS, and DED  holders.” added Mayra Cedano Executive Director of Comunidades Unidas. “As a former dreamer, I am excited to imagine the possibilities this legislation could bring to our communities. Nonetheless, we will not stop until we get a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million. La Lucha Continúa!”

“Congress needs to act to ensure citizenship for DACA recipients and all 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, who have borne a large brunt of the COVID pandemic,” said Nicole Melaku executive director of the of the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA). “The Dream Act and other necessary legislation to provide a road to permanent residency and citizenship for all undocumented people must not include enforcement, in order to reflect that our loved ones’ homes are here.”

Black and brown immigrants have been disproportionately impacted as COVID-19 continues to devastate communities across the country, claiming over 445,000 lives. All this while undocumented people have been excluded from critical pandemic relief and recovery efforts on both the federal and local levels. NPNA calls on our elected officials to create a roadmap to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, as called for in President Biden’s day one immigration bill.