House Democrats voted 237-187 Tuesday to pass a bill that, if entered into law, would grant amnesty to an estimated 2.5 million illegally resident people.
They also blocked a proposed change to the bill from Republicans, which could have helped reduce illegal immigration by funding border crisis relief to the tune of $4.5 billion.
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H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act, made it to the floor following a contentious intraparty debate over its contours in the House Judiciary Committee. If passed into law, the bill would create a path to citizenship for three distinct groups of illegally resident individuals who have been heretofore protected from deportation by separate government programs.
Specifically, H.R. 6 would offer protection from deportation to 2.1 million individuals who arrived to the United States as minors (including 600,000 DACA recipients), and 400,000 some beneficiaries of the TPS and DED programs. Those who arrived as minors would be offered Conditional Permanent Residency, with a path to Lawful Permanent Residency (i.e. a Green Card) and even citizenship; TPS and DED recipients would be granted green card status.
The bill passed with the support of over 230 cosponsors, all Democrats. It now goes to the Senate, where it is unlikely to get any traction under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.). As such, its passage is largely symbolic, indicating where Democrats would take immigration policy if they were swept into power in the 2020 elections.
By contrast, the White House harshly condemned H.R. 6 in a strongly worded statement of administration policy issued late Monday.
"H.R. 6 would incentivize and reward illegal immigration while ignoring and undermining key administration immigration objectives and policy priorities, such as protecting our communities and defending our borders," the statement read. "The administration has put forward proposals to address the status of the hundreds of thousands of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Temporary Protected Status (TPS), and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients, but only in the context of actual solutions that would address the underlying problems in our immigration system."
Such solutions are absent from H.R. 6, which includes neither funding for border security, nor any proposed solution to the surge of individuals crossing the southwestern border who have collectively stretched immigration officials' capacity to the breaking point.
House Democrats even opted to block proposed changes to the bill that would have added such funding. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R., Ariz.) introduced as an amendment Rep. Mike Rogers's (R., Ala.) "Border Crisis Supplemental Appropriations Act," which would appropriate roughly $4.5 billion in crisis relief and border security funding, according to a version of the bill's text provided to the Washington Free Beacon by Lesko's office.