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AFSC Applauds Passage of Dream and Promise Act

TPS caravan
Photo: / AFSC

Bill would provide protections for recipients of TPS, DED, and those eligible for DACA

WASHINGTON, DC (June 4, 2019) Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act of 2019. The bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) – a Quaker organization that has worked for immigrant and refugee rights for over 100 years, welcomed its passage.  

“A permanent solution for TPS, DED and DACA recipients is long overdue,” said Peniel Ibe, Policy Associate for AFSC. “Immigrants, allies, and advocates have worked tirelessly to make this happen. We want permanent residency and a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented people in the U.S., and the Dream and Promise Act is an important first step.”

AFSC and others across the country have been working hard to implement protections for TPS, DED, and DACA recipients – meeting with elected officials, organizing call-in days, and holding local events.

“I want to thank our legislators for standing with us to pass permanent residency legislation for TPS, DACA and DED holders”, said Morena Miron, a TPS recipient from Honduras and member of the New Jersey TPS Committee. “Most of us have spent half of our lives here and cannot safely return to our own countries. TPS holders need permanent residency for ourselves as much as for our citizen children whose educations and lives remain in the United States.”

However, the organization was critical of some of the changes that have been made to the bill since its introduction. Provisions were added that could further criminalize immigrants of color based on their contact with a discriminatory criminal legal system. Gang databases shared by local law enforcement and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have drawn critique for being notoriously unreliable and based on racial profiling.

“The inclusion of language related to gang affiliations upholds racist and anti-immigrant sentiments,” said Itzel Hernandez, Immigrant Rights Organizer for AFSC’s Red Bank, New Jersey office and potential beneficiary of the Dream Act of 2019. “Here in New Jersey, I have seen many young people suffer harsher consequences based on secretive and inaccurate gang affiliation criteria used to wrongfully profile them.”

Conservative lawmakers attempted to add additional harmful amendments right before the bill’s passage, but the House voted down opening the bill to amendments and instead voted on the original bill. The bill now heads to the Senate.

“We are calling on our Senators to act quickly to protect our TPS, DED and DACA eligible community members, without adding provisions that will expand the Administration’s deportation force or exclude more people from accessing relief,” said Kathryn Johnson, Policy Advocacy Coordinator for AFSC.

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The American Friends Service Committee is a Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action. Drawing on continuing spiritual insights and working with people of many backgrounds, we nurture the seeds of change and respect for human life that transform social systems.