LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors threw its support Tuesday behind a Senate bill that would allow some young immigrants to earn legal permanent residence and a path to citizenship.
Supervisor Hilda Solis championed the move, asking her colleagues to send a letter to the county’s congressional delegation, Senate and House leaders and President Donald Trump in support of the DREAM Act of 2017.
“For many years, the DACA program has brought hope and security for thousands of young people throughout the nation,” Solis said of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program introduced during the Obama administration. “We can never forget about our DREAMers who have proven their ability to make significant and positive impacts on the county of Los Angeles and every community throughout the country.”
The DREAM Act of 2017 — sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina — would allow more than 1 million young people who came to the U.S. before they turned 18, often known as “Dreamers,” to gain legal status. Applicants must be longtime residents with a high school diploma or GED certificate or working toward those goals and meet other eligibility requirements.
The proposed legislation would go beyond DACA to offer a path to permanent legal residency and citizenship and would allow applicants to gain that right through either higher education or work experience.
“Our immigrant communities are working day in and day out to succeed in this country. Programs such as DACA truly help our young immigrants continue to provide support to their parents and the idea that brought them to believe in the `American Dream,”‘ said Alessandro Negrete of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council.
The Trump administration has allowed the DACA program to remain in effect for the time being, despite campaign promises to revoke it.
Republican state officials have threatened to challenge DACA in court if it is not rescinded by Sept. 5.
Then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, now Trump’s chief of staff, told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in July that it might not survive that challenge, the Washington Post reported.
The DREAM Act legislation would provide a long-term solution.
At a July 20 news conference to introduce the bill, Graham said he hoped to persuade the president to protect immigrants who were brought to America as children.
“President Trump, as you fix a broken immigration system, remember that you have the power to fix lives as well. Use that power,” Graham said.
An April survey by Morning Consult and Politico found that 78 percent of registered voters believe “Dreamers” should be allowed to stay in the country. Of those who voted for Trump, 73 percent agreed.
Get more information on the DREAM Act of 2017 [Senate bill 1615] here.