ADEA Washington Update

Republicans Introduce SUCCEEDS Act to Address Dreamers

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President Donald Trump’s Sept. 5 decision to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has spurred a congressional search for a way to legalize the roughly 800,000 undocumented individuals who arrived in the United States illegally as children. The president’s action came in response to a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general (AGs) of 10 states that oppose DACA. The Republican AGs offered to voluntarily dismiss their lawsuit, if the Trump Administration agreed to rescind DACA and stop issuing new permits by Sept. 5.

Shortly after announcing the suspension of DACA, President Trump called on Congress to find a legislative solution that would allow DREAMers to remain in the country. On Sept. 25, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) introduced a bill to authorize the cancellation of the removal and adjustment of status of certain undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children, known as the SUCCEED Act. This bill offers a more conservative option to grant a pathway to citizenship to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants than the bipartisan DREAM Act by Senators Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Richard Durbin (D-IL). “This, I believe, is a fair and orderly method for providing a permanent solution for the DACA children,” Sen. Tillis told reporters.

To be eligible for the program, participants would have to pass a criminal background check and have a high school diploma or equivalent. They would also have to have been in the United States since June 15, 2012, and entered before the age of 16. Applicants would need to submit biometric and biographical data to the Department of Homeland Security. The legislation would also require participants to pay off any tax liabilities and sign a waiver for future immigration benefits if they were to violate their status. The SUCCEED Act would give so-called Dreamers  "conditional permanent residence" for 10 years, before becoming eligible to apply for the “permanent resident card” also known as a green card. 

Dreamers would only be able to apply for actual U.S. citizenship, after holding a green card for a minimum of five years and would not be allowed to sponsor family members to enter the country. Under current law, green card holders can petition for close relatives, such as a spouse or children, to obtain permanent residency. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) met with President Trump earlier in September and pushed for the DREAM Act to be the foundation for the DACA replacement. Shortly after the meeting, President Trump said he would not support lawful permanent residence and U.S. citizenship being a part of a deal, which he believes should also include border security-related enforcement measures.

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