Amidst a whirlwind crisis on the southern border, the House of Representatives voted Thursday to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants illegally brought to the United States as children: “dreamers.”
The bill, along with a separate piece of legislation that would provide legal status to undocumented farm workers, was passed by democrats in the last session of Congress, but stalled in a GOP-controlled Senate, ABC News reports. Now, with their party in control of the upper chamber, team-left hopes to see a different outcome.
The American Dream and Promise Act, which would provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented migrants commonly referred to as “dreamers,” passed in a 228-197 vote, with nine republicans voting in favor.
According to its sponsors, the proposal would impact around 3.4 million people.
“These people have lived in silence for far too long,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said Thursday.
“For us, this is a day of not only passing legislation, but a cause for celebration,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said.
The House also passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would create a system for more than 1 million undocumented farm workers to apply for legal status in a 247-174 vote. 30 republicans voted with the democrats, and one democrat – Rep. Jared Golden – voted with the republicans.
“There simply isn’t enough interest among domestic workers to get these jobs done,” Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) said Thursday, calling the proposal “targeted” and a “bipartisan solution our farmers and ranchers need.”
During the debate Thursday, team-right lawmakers blasted the Biden administration for its response to the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
“It is the Biden border crisis,” GOP leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said. “So far, the Biden administration and congressional democrats aren’t providing any solutions.”
Without a productive discussion on border security and Biden’s handling of the border crisis, it may be a challenge for republicans to engage in negotiations on immigration reform.
The bills now head to the Senate, where their future is uncertain.