AP file photo
Washington: A group of eminent Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday rejuvenated their push to provide a pathway to citizenship to some 250,000 documented 'dreamers', a significant majority of whom are Indian Americans.
Led by California Senator Alex Padilla and Congresswoman Deborah Ross, the lawmakers urged their colleagues in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives to pass the bipartisan America's Children Act, which will allow to stay children of those who immigrated to the country legally, but are yet to get green card because of a massive backlog.
The so-called documented dreamers, who are estimated to be about 250,000, grew up legally in the US but risk deportation when they turn 21 years old.
“For these young people, turning 21 means facing an impossible choice. Either to leave your family and self-deport to a country that you barely remember, or to stay in the United States living, undocumented, in the shadows,” Padilla told reporters at a news conference here.
Indian American Congressman Dr Ami Bera said that documented dreamers were raised in America and they know this country as their only home. “Yet, they risk having to self-deport by the age of 21 because of backlogs in the immigration system. Congress must pass the America's Children Act to extend protections to these young people,” he said.
More than 40 of these children, who have created the group “Improve the Dream” joined these lawmakers at the US Capitol press conference. “These talented young people have been left out of conversations about immigration reform for too long. We're ready to change that,” Congresswoman Ross said.
“Documented Dreamers represent the very best of America. Let's give them the chance to stay in the country they love and call home,” she said.
Senator Richard Durbin, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told reporters that the legislation would most likely need to move as part of a broader package that addressed Republican concerns about border security.
“I have heard no pushback on this bill. All they've said is, ‘we want to deal with the border challenges,'” he said.