WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a bill to protect young immigrants not covered by DACA who call themselves “documented Dreamers.”
Hundreds of thousands of young people who came to the U.S. under their parent’s visas face deportation when they age out of the system.
“Their parent’s green card applications are stuck in backlogs that are sometimes more than 50 years long,” Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, said during a news conference.
Once they turn 21, these young people lose their legal status.
U.S. Rep. Ami Bera, D-California, explained, “You now have to self deport to a country you may have no recollection of.”
However, if they remain in the U.S., they become undocumented immigrants.
U.S. Rep. Deborah Ross, D-North Carolina, said there are “more than 200,000 documented ‘Dreamers’ across the country who are living in limbo.”
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, says the U.S. needs these soon to be young professionals.
“Think about how many times we’ve been told we don’t have the workforce we need, we’re desperate to find people to fill the jobs,” Durbin said.
While Congress has been unable to pass comprehensive immigration reform for decades, these Democrats are hopeful this more narrow legislation has a real shot at passing.
The bill would allow people like Milly Herrera, a “documented Dreamer” to apply for green cards.
“For me, aging out of the system at 21 means disrupting my path in higher education. It makes applying to colleges a lot more complicated and it makes my future a moving target,” Herrera said.
With bipartisan cosponsors, supporters believe the legislation can get enough votes to become law.