The House Judiciary Committee cleared three critical bills that went seemingly unnoticed as tension in Washington D.C. mounts.
The DREAM Act (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) and American Promise Act each passed followed by the Venezuela Temporary Protected Status Act. Immigration activists consider the passing of these three bills to be the biggest legislative success in years.
The DREAM Act would conditionally grant permanent residency to qualifying long-term residents who entered the United States as children.
The Promise Act would allow adjustment of status for certain nationals from specific countries designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforcement Departure.
The House is expected to vote on the bills in early June. If the House passes the bills, there is still no guarantee that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow a vote. Should GOP-controlled Senate approve both the DREAM Act and the American Promise Act, nearly 2.1 million people could be granted permanent residency with a path to citizenship.
The Venezuela TPS Act would permit Venezuelan nationals to qualify for temporary protected status and allow beneficiaries to obtain employment and travel authorization for a limited time.
Temporary Protected Status is granted to eligible nationals in the United States who are prevented from returning to their country of origin because of armed conflict, natural disaster or other extraordinary circumstances.
Generally, the Secretary of Homeland Security grants TPS status, but the Trump administration has been reluctant to declare TPS for Venezuelans in the United States. The Venezuelan American National Bar Association estimates that there are 150,000 TPS-eligible Venezuelans currently in the United States.