On Monday, Senate Republicans introduced a bill, entitled the Succeed Act, which would offer a pathway to legalization for so-called Dreamers.
The proposal, intended to win support from conservatives, wouldn’t allow Dreamers to sponsor family members to immigrate to the United States.
The bill’s chief writers – Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and James Lankford (R-OK) – say their vision is a conservative alternative to earlier, Democratic-backed ideas.
Despite the GOP’s generally harsh stance against illegal immigration, President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program met some backlash from Republicans themselves. Of all categories of undocumented aliens, DACA recipients – known colloquially as Dreamers – tend to be viewed as the most sympathetic.
In order to take advantage of DACA, recipients had to have arrived to the United States as children and pass a background check, among other requirements. Dreamers were then given renewable permissions to reside, work, and study legally on American soil.
Donald Trump had a paradoxical relationship with DACA – during his campaign and beginning of his presidency, Trump vowed to quickly eradicate the program.
However, as time wore on, the commander-in-chief adopted a softer perspective, saying that he had a “big heart” for hard workers.
Perhaps due to an impending lawsuit spearheaded by a number of conservative attorneys general, Trump made the decision to end DACA, placing the impetus to find a solution on Congress. He also threatened to take action if politicians weren’t able to help Dreamers before they’d risk being deported.
Sen. Tillis said that liberal immigration activists and some hardcore conservatives have criticized his proposal, but said that President Trump was “very supportive” of the underlying idea.
“We’ll have to take the hits,” Tillis said during a news conference Monday. “We’ll take the hits on the far left for saying you’re not getting them citizenship soon enough, and you’ll take it on the far right for saying you’ve ever given them the opportunity to pursue citizenship.”
According to Politico, Tillis and Lankford believe their proposal is sufficiently balanced to win support from Republicans and some Democrats.
The bill is entitled the Succeed Act.
Under its provisions, former beneficiaries of DACA would not be able to sponsor relatives’ immigration to the United States, but would have the option to do so if they eventually become citizens.
Many of the original conditions of DACA would be kept intact, such as the need to pass a criminal background check and have completed at least a high school education or military service. The Succeed Act would allow Dreamers to apply for a regular green card after participating in the program as “conditional permanent residents” for 10 years.
Upon obtaining green cards, hypothetical beneficiaries of the Succeed Act could apply for U.S. citizenship after five years.
However, undocumented parents of Dreamers would not be able to stay deportation orders or petition for residency on the basis of their children’s acceptance.
“We took into consideration a basic fact: In American law, we don’t hold children accountable for the actions of their parents,” said Lankford. “They’re caught in between at this point.”