As House Democrats released their latest version of the DREAM Act this week, they are already looking ahead to the much more difficult challenge of a comprehensive immigration overhaul.
The Dream and Promise Act, released Tuesday, is a bill designed to give 2.5 million immigrantspermanent status and a pathway to citizenship. It’s an ambitious attempt to protect two groups whose legal status has been threatened repeatedly by the Trump administration: young, unauthorized immigrants known as DREAMers and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status. For this reason, it’s a proposal that’s likely dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Opposing Donald Trump is the easy part — the president’s hardline policies have arguably united Democrats. But the fact remains that Democrats still have to do the hard work of figuring out their own vision for an overhaul of immigration and border security policies.
Agreeing on immigration reform has eluded Democrats and Republicans for decades, but Democrats will face intense pressure to tackle it if they take back the White House and Senate in 2020.
Three prominent groups of House Democratswith a huge stake in immigration — the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Progressive Caucus — have all started to separately outline their demands for a comprehensive immigration bill. It could become a major litmus test for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.
“We are in the process of putting together a set of principles for what humane immigration reform looks like, and we hope to have those ready in the next couple of months,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), a co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, told Vox. “Given that the 2020 elections are coming up, we want every presidential candidate to say, ‘This is what we mean by comprehensive reform.’”
While slogans like #AbolishICE have captured the energy of the Democratic base, many House Democrats don’t agree with them.
“I think that’s a major distraction, I don’t think that’s a lot of sense,” said Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-CA). “If you abolished ICE tomorrow, that doesn’t change the policies. I don’t care what you call it.”
By Ella Nilsen for V O X
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