On Monday, Senate Republicans introduced the SUCCEED Act, an immigration bill that would give current recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program a pathway to citizenship. Under the proposed legislation, which was introduced by Sens. James Lankford, Thom Tillis, and Orrin Hatch; Dreamers, a term for immigrants who arrived in the United States before they turned 16, could get citizenship after about 15 years.
Paúl Quiñonez, a representative of the Washington Dream Coalition, called the Republican-sponsored bill "political posturing and completely unnecessary."
"This is just another way these so-called moderate Republicans to claim they are working on [immigration] and to save face," he said. "There is nothing in this that would treat us with heart. All this would do is hold us hostage for another 10 years under conditional residency."
It’s time for a vote on the #DREAMAct. I urge @HouseGOP to join @HouseDemocrats & sign the discharge petition so we can #protectDREAMers. pic.twitter.com/INaPdp1DaF
— Rep. Ruben J. Kihuen (@RepKihuen) September 26, 2017
The SUCCEED Act would only apply to undocumented youth who arrived in the U.S. before age 16 and before June 12, 2015, the day the DACA program began under Obama. President Donald Trump announced his decision to end DACA on September 5.
The Republican-sponsored bill would leave hundreds of thousands of Dreamers in limbo because many of them wouldn't become citizens until they were in their 30s and 40s. They would also be prevented from sponsoring their family members to allow them to get legal residency, Quiñonez said.
"They're continuing to break up families and prohibiting people from fixing the status of their family members who are already here," he said.
Instead, Quiñonez and other Dreamers are pushing for the DREAM Act to be heard on the House floor. House Democrats introduced a discharge petition on Monday to force the legislation to be brought to the floor if it is supported by at least 218 members of the House. Because the GOP holds a House majority, at least 24 Republicans would need to sign on to the petition.