The U.S. House of Representatives tonight approved the Dream and Promise Act, H.R. 6, which would provide permanent residency and a path to citizenship for more than 2.5 million immigrants across the nation, including over 45,000 in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts delegation was unanimous in its support, and as chair of the House Rules Committee, U.S. Rep. James McGovern was instrumental in laying the groundwork for a successful vote tonight. MIRA Executive Director Eva A. Millona celebrated this important victory:
“Tonight’s vote is historic,” she said. “It says, loud and clear, that Dreamers and TPS and DED holders belong in America – that this is their home as much as anyone’s, and they have a right to build their lives and pursue their dreams without fear that any day, they could be forced to leave. It’s been almost 9 years since the House first approved a DREAM Act, and not once since then has even a single chamber of Congress approved legislation to protect immigrants without harmful tradeoffs. That’s why this bill is so important.”
“We know the path ahead is hard,” she added. “Despite overwhelming public support for the Dream and Promise Act, including from business leaders across America, some politicians are bent on defeating it, and we expect a tough battle in the Senate.
“But Dreamers can’t afford to lose hope, or to forfeit this fight. Neither can TPS and DED holders. Their lives are at stake. Their families’ future is on the line. So they’re going to keep fighting, and we are proud to support them, every day until we win.
“As they shouted in the House Chamber after the vote, ‘Sí se puede.’ Yes, we can.”
MIRA also gathered comments from TPS holders and Dreamers earlier in the day. We have posted abridged versions on our Twitter feed, and share a sampling below:
“I would be so happy to have permanent residency and a path to citizenship. To never have to worry again about renewing my TPS, because every time it’s up, you worry,” said Aminta Rodríguez, a TPS holder in Everett who has lived in the U.S. since 1996 and raised two U.S. citizen children here, now 20 and 18. “To me it would be a gift from God. Just thinking about it, you get emotional.”
“I will never lose hope that one day my future will be certain,” said Estefany Pineda, a Dreamer and student at UMass Boston who was Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley’s guest at the State of the Union address this year. “Tonight is a push to continue the fight.”
“I’m crying,” said Ivan H., an honors student at Pine Manor College who is currently undocumented. “This is what we have been fighting for. This bill means so much to me, and to so many people.”
“The cancellation of the advance parole program of DACA has meant that I cannot travel back into the U.S. if I leave,” said Daishi Tanaka, a Dreamer who just graduated from Harvard University. “Permanent status means I could finally see my parents again, who self-deported to Japan 3 years ago. It means more than just becoming an American: it entails freedom of movement and family reunification.”