Lankford Unveils Legislation to Address DACA Recipients' Legal Status

GOP senators introduce DREAM Act alternative

"The competition doesn't hurt us as a country, it helps us".

To be eligible under the SUCCEED Act, an immigrant must have been in the United States since the start of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program - June 15, 2012 - and must have been under the age of 16 upon arrival. The bill would prevent applicants from sponsoring family members while in conditional or green card status, but those prohibitions fall away once the person gets USA citizenship, paving the way for family-based immigration of millions of foreign relatives. The measure led to an influx of illegal immigration in 2012 as people brought their kids into the country.

In early September, President Trump announced his plan for a six-month delay on ending DACA, to give Congress a window of time to propose new legislation.

The Succeed Act is expected to be bundled with other immigration bills in the coming weeks or months.

Under the proposal, Dreamers would have "conditional permanent residence" for 10 years before becoming eligible to apply for a green card, and that status could be renewed after five years. Those applicants must be admitted to an institution of higher learning, have earned a high school diploma or equivalent, or be enrolled in a secondary school or GED program. The conditional period would last 10 years, during which the immigrant must either earn a college degree, serve in the military for at least three years or maintain consistent employment. Dreamers would only be able to apply for citizenship after holding a green card for five years. There are various avenues to become a citizen in this country, but it generally takes legal immigrants anywhere between three and five years to undergo the citizenship process. Assuming the applicant's process goes as planned, they should obtain US citizenship at the end of the 15 years. "We want to create some sort of permeance but put them in the line so they can go through the process".

The bill also includes a pathway to naturalization more than 15 years after it would come into effect and all the criteria is followed.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said that while he has not received commitments from any Republicans that they would sign the discharge petition, he is confident it would pass if brought to the floor. They can not have been convicted of a felony or a "major misdemeanor" including domestic violence, sexual abuse, burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, drug distribution or driving under the influence. According to those close to the process, they have been working on the proposal for months, soliciting buy-in from stakeholders on both sides of the aisle, immigration experts and DACA opponents and supporters.

"Their parents did something illegal, they crossed a border".

Lankford said fears that Dreamers compete with native-born Americans for jobs is not borne out by reality as many DACA immigrants are already part of the work force. Its sponsors said the bill was not a "stand-alone" piece of legislation, and suggested it could ultimately be part of a broader bill or in conjunction with border security legislation.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also showed up at the news conference in support of the bill. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), have been tried many times and would not pass Congress. Tillis said it would cover most DACA beneficiaries. "It failed famously back in 1986".

"But it's a balanced resolution to a vexing problem that hasn't been resolved for 30 years", Tillis said. "We'll take the hits on the far left saying "you're not getting them to citizenship soon enough" and you'll take it on the far right for saying you're ever giving them an opportunity to pursue citizenship after they've done all that's required of them to continue to have the protected status that's in this bill".

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