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World

US House passes immigration bills including pathway for 'Dreamers'

  • The other formalizes the legal status of migrant farmworkers -- who the White House notes are "living in the shadows and vulnerable to exploitation" -- and offers them an opportunity to earn citizenship.
19 Mar 2021

WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives passed two immigration bills Thursday that would provide legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants, but the measures have an uncertain future in the evenly divided Senate.

Rather than trying to ram through comprehensive immigration reform similar to the massive effort that failed in 2013 -- and during today's heightened tensions along the US-Mexico border -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi opted for a different strategy.

She aims to coax a pair of more modest measures through Congress and towards President Joe Biden's desk.

Many of the undocumented immigrants who would be given status under the bills "have worked tirelessly on the frontlines throughout this pandemic to keep our country afloat, fed, and healthy -- yet they are forced to live with fear and uncertainty because of their immigration status," Biden said in a statement.

The White House has endorsed the two bills, including one that offers a citizenship pathway for undocumented young people, known as "Dreamers," who were brought to the United States as children.

The American Dream and Promise Act passed on a vote of 228 to 197, with support from nine Republicans.

The other formalizes the legal status of migrant farmworkers -- who the White House notes are "living in the shadows and vulnerable to exploitation" -- and offers them an opportunity to earn citizenship.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would permit farmworkers and their families to remain in the country, and in many cases become US citizens, through continued employment in agriculture.

It passed by 247 to 174, an even stronger bipartisan margin.