House to Vote on 2 Bills That Provide Citizenship Path to Illegal Immigrants

The Democrat-controlled House of Representatives is set to vote on Thursday on two immigration bills that would provide a citizenship path for illegal immigrants, and legal status for immigrant farmworkers.

House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters that the House would take up the two immigration bills on Thursday after they cleared a procedural hurdle on Tuesday.

Neither bill was taken up in the Senate when it had a Republican majority. With Democrats now holding narrow control of the upper chamber, they hope to be able to attract some Republican support.

The American Dream and Promise Act would offer a pathway to citizenship to those who entered the country illegally as children and are currently living in the United States, also known as “Dreamers.” The same bill would also help immigrants in the country who received temporary migration protections. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.).

An estimated 4.4 million illegal immigrants could become eligible for permanent residence if the bill is passed, according to the Migration Policy Institute. In 2019, seven Republicans joined 230 Democrats in the House in voting for the bill.

The other immigration bill, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, would provide illegal immigrant agricultural workers a path to legal status, and make the H-2A guestworker program more flexible for employers. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and has a Republican co-sponsor, Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.). It passed the House in 2019 with the support of 34 Republicans.

Hoyer said on Tuesday: “These two bills are not the fix, but they are [a] fix to part of the problem. But we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform and we’re going to do so in the coming months.”


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