On Thursday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill to provide more protection for undocumented people in the form of legal residence status. The law must prevent so-called’ dreamers’, people who came to the US as children without valid residence papers, from being expelled. It should also make it easier for them to obtain citizenship.
The proposal was approved by 228 members of the House of Commons, with 197 votes against. Only nine Republicans agreed to the proposal. The bill is now being sent to the Senate, where it is likely to encounter even more resistance from the Republican Party.
American president Joe Biden wants to stop the deportation of undocumented people and actually arrange amnesty, also for the ‘dreamers’. That’s hundreds of thousands of people who came to the US as children without valid residence papers and started their adult life there. Many of them grew up in the US and went to school there. They were given legal protection for a long time, but in 2017 the Government of Donald Trump decided to abolish it.
The House of Commons also approved a second bill to protect around one million migrant workers from expulsion. 247 members voted in favour and 174 against. A total of about 2.5 million undocumented people should be able to obtain a permanent residence permit within five years and three years after that also American citizenship.
Biden has always opposed the strict migration policy of his predecessor Trump and stressed on the first day of his presidency that he would change the policy. Legal residence status for the undocumented, almost half of whom are from Mexico, has long been a priority of Democratic and liberal politicians, who believe that they contribute to the economy.
It is not known how many people live in the US without valid residence papers, but most estimates put between ten and twelve million. Among them are at least nearly two million people from Central America, mainly El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.