Dream and Promise Act Offers Hope to Some, Excludes Others

Washington, DC – Yesterday, the Dream and Promise Act was introduced in Congress by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA-40), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY-07), and Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY-09) to provide a path to citizenship for more than three million undocumented youth and for people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
Unfortunately, despite the inclusion of some waivers, the act continues to include unnecessary and harsh criminal bars that will leave significant segments of immigrant communities vulnerable to deportation.
Under the bill, the government may deny status to some applicants, including individuals with certain misdemeanor convictions. The bill expands inadmissibility standards by including unnecessary bars to status for certain juvenile convictions and broad gang participation language that does not require any sort of conviction.
“While we appreciate Congress seeking to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth, TPS, and DED recipents, we are extremely disappointed to see that the Dream and Promise Act continues to exclude and further entrench our communities in our racist criminal legal and immigration system. Instead of providing relief and protection for our immigrant communities that reflects the democratic promise of our values of second chances and redemption, the bill furthers the criminalization of immigrants and overpolicing in our immigration system,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of SEARAC.
“Southeast Asian Americans communities continue to face deportations decades after they have been sentenced precisely because of expanded inadmissibility and deportability laws. SEARAC remains committed to improving our immigration system for all refugees and immigrants and will continue to advocate for legislation that does not further punish our communities when providing undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship. We urge Congress to amend the language of this bill to ensure that our undocumented communities can seek status without being further criminalized.