On March 6, 2018 almost 1,000 people a day could begin to lose their protected status as their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program permits expire two-years later. President Donald Trump has left it to Congress to figure out what to do with the nearly 700,000 dreamers who are able to legally live and work in the US under DACA.
There are multiple DACA replacement bills swirling around Congress. If a bill is passes before the March 5 deadline, qualified applicants will be able to remain in the US legally. Many of the proposed bills have the same requirements as DACA, but some of the bills provide something DACA does not: a pathway to citizenship. Here are four DACA replacement bills you should know about.
RAC Act (“Recognizing America’s Children Act”)
Introduced: In the House on 3/9/2017 by Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R- Florida.
Co-sponsors: 36. The RAC Act has a high number of sponsors, however 35 are Republican and only one is a Democrat.
Citizenship: The RAC Act provides a pathway to citizenship after 10 years. Applicants would need to live in the US for five years as a conditional permanent resident, and then five years as a green card holder in order to be eligible for citizenship.
Travel: Under the bill, DACA recipients could travel outside of the US right away, something DACA doesn’t allow.
Requirements: Applicants will have arrived in the US at 16 years or younger and will have lived in the US since January 1, 2012. Applicants must either have a high school diploma or be enrolled in school, have a valid work authorization, or enlist in the military. As with all the bills a background check must be passed.
“There are multiple bills in Congress designed to protect #Dreamers. I’ll support any of them. It’s about Dreamers not about who gets credit,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Twitter, 10/4/17
Bridge Act (“Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy Act”)
Introduced: In the House on 1/12/2017 by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colorado.
Co-sponsors: 32. The Bridge Act has bipartisan support. 16 Democrats and 16 Republicans have signed on to the support the bill.
Citizenship: The Bridge Act does not support a pathway to citizenship. It is a three-year visa that must be renewed by Congress.
Travel: No travel is allowed outside the US during the three-year visa period.
Requirements: Applicants will have entered the US before 16-years of age and will have resided in the country continuously since June 15, 2007. Applicants must be enrolled in school or have a high school degree or GED. Honorably discharged members of the US Armed Forces are also eligible. Applicants must not have committed three or more misdemeanors.
“Proud to join my colleagues in a letter to @SpeakerRyan asking for a permanent legislative solution for #DACA recipients before year end. All part of fixing our broken immigration system,” Coffman wrote on Twitter, 12/5/2017
Succeed Act (“Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Education, Defending our nation Act”)
Introduced: In the Senate on 9/25/2017 by Sen. Thom Tillis (R- North Carolina).
Co-sponsors: Three. While the bill has just two other Republican senators signed on, it is one of the only DACA replacement bills introduced in the Senate. The bill goes a lot farther than the Republican led Bridge Act introduced in the House.
Citizenship: After 15 years as both a conditional permanent resident (10 years) and a green card holder (five years), DACA recipients would be able to apply for citizenship.
Travel: International travel is allowed under the bill.
Requirements: Applicants must have entered the US before the age of 16 and be younger than 31 on June 15, 2012. They must have lived continuously in the US since January 1, 2012. Applicants will have earned a high school diploma or GED or be enrolled in higher education. Those who have served or enlisted in the Army are also eligible.
“It’s a common sense bill that tries to identify the contribution that the DACA population have made to this nation, hold them accountable, but based on their merit give them an opportunity to gain legal status in the United States,” Sen. Thom Thillis 10/25/2017
Dream Act (“Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act”)
Introduced: The Dream Act is the only bill introduced in both the House and Senate. A version of the Dream Act was introduced in 2010, but failed to garner enough support. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, reintroduced an updated version known as the “Clean Dream Act” in the Senate on 7/20/2017. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-California, introduced the same version in the House on 7/26/2017.
Co-sponsors: The Dream Act by far has the most support with 211 sponsors. However it lacks bipartisan support, only nine are Republicans.
Citizenship: The Dream Act provides the fastest pathway. After five years as a legal permanent resident, applicants can apply for citizenship.
Requirements: Applicants must have entered the US before the age of 18 and have lived in the US for four years prior to the bill’s enactment. Unlike the other bills, there is no date associated with the age requirement. A GED or high school diploma or enrollment in a higher education program is required.
“We’re not going to pass a bill without presidential help.. the President needs to sell this deal, he’s a deal maker. His voice in the House will matter a lot. The President is going to have to help Congress find a compromise,” Graham said on CNN’s “New Day,” 9/6/2017.