April 5th, 2019
ECAASU Urges Congress to Pass H.R. 6, the Dream and Promise Act of 2019
WASHINGTON, DC- The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) urges Congress to pass H.R. 6 as a way to oppose xenophobia and white supremacy in this country. As an organization that represents AAPI students across the East Coast, we wanted to draw attention to some ways in which this legislation will impact our communities.
On Tuesday, March 12th, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), the first Mexican American woman elected to Congress, introduced H.R. 6, or the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019. This bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for many undocumented folks with status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), thereby protecting them from detention and deportation.
In part, H.R. 6 provides permanent resident status to those who entered the U.S. as children, outlining conditional terms that must be met. This legislation would apply to both DACA recipients and Dreamers, undocumented folks who would have been eligible to apply to DACA before it was rescinded in 2017. Although there are 800,000 DACA recipients, 18,000 of whom are within the AAPI community, studies estimate there are as many as 3.6 million Dreamers who would have been eligible for the program.
While H.R. 6 would allow college-educated students to remove the conditional basis of their permanent resident status, we are concerned about how this would affect Dreamers who might not have had access to higher education. (Sec 105). Academic achievement should not be tied to the inherent value of a person or their access to citizenship, especially when Dreamers already face so many barriers to accessing higher education. Dreamers may also be eligible for lawful permanent resident status by serving two years in the military or by being employed for more than three years stably.
H.R. 6 would allow states to determine the residency status of undocumented students within their jurisdiction, which could allow access to in-state tuition, work-study programs, and federal scholarships, but doesn’t guarantee it. The bill also repeals prior language that disqualified undocumented students from receiving these benefits in postsecondary education. (Sec 106).
Although H.R. 6 extends protections for Dreamers and holders of TPS and DED, it does not protect family members of these groups, which contributes to fears that many immigrant families live with. Estimates show that there are as many as 11.7 million undocumented folks in the United States. While Asian Americans make up 1.7 million of this population, Black and Latinx communities are also deeply impacted by current immigration policy and we stand together as we work towards comprehensive immigration reform. Although this is likely the best chance of passing a bill, a conditional basis for citizenship cannot be the end goal and we hope that, moving forward, this legislation will be built upon to protect all communities.
Here is what other organizations are saying about the Bill:
Here are past ECAASU statements regarding DACA:
Run solely by volunteers, The East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to inspire, educate, and empower those interested in Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) issues.
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