The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to approve legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of young immigrants.
CNN reports H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, was passed Thursday by a vote of 228 to 197, with all House Democrats and nine Republicans voting in favor of the bill. The legislation would allow more than 2.3 million Dreamers—undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors—to receive permanent legal status and U.S. citizenship down the road.
H.R. 6 would also benefit immigrants who have received Temporary Protected Status (TPS), which is given to those who come to the U.S. to escape humanitarian crises. The bill would allow TPS recipients and Deferred Enforced Departure beneficiaries to gain legal status and apply for U.S. citizenship, which means up to 4.4 million individuals would be eligible for naturalization.
“They’re so much of our country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said of Dreamers ahead of Thursday’s vote. “These immigrant communities strengthen, enrich and ennoble our nation, and they must be allowed to stay.”
The House is expected take on another bill Thursday that would create similar protections for migrant farmworkers living in the country without authorization. According to the Associated Press, the U.S. estimates that about half of the country’s agricultural workforce is made up of undocumented immigrants. The bill would make changes to the H-2A guest worker program, and would allow these laborers, as well as their spouses and children, to earn legal status through agricultural work.
The legislation may have a hard time getting approved by the Senate, as Democrats need to secure at least 10 Republican “yes” votes in order to break a filibuster.
“The House will send a clear message that we believe in a just, rational and humane immigration system,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said. “I hope that our Senate colleagues will hear us on the other side of the Capitol and will take similar action.”