Lawmakers seek permanent residency for ‘documented dreamers’

Twenty-two top US Democratic lawmakers, including Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera, have urged the party leadership to include a permanent path to residency for ‘documented dreamers’ in an upcoming Budget Reconciliation Bill.

‘Documented dreamers’ is the term used for the children, who are living in the United States as dependents of long-term non-immigrant visa holders, including H-1B workers. Under US laws, children cease to be dependent on their parents after they turn 21. As a result, thousands of Indian children are fearing deportation.

‘We write to request that any Budget Reconciliation Bill include a pathway to permanent residency for young people who have grown up in the United States as dependents of long-term visa holders,’ the Democratic lawmakers wrote in the letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Budget reconciliation is the reviewing of transactions and supporting papers to resolve any discrepancies in the Budget.

‘We ask that these individuals — often referred to as ‘documented dreamers’ — be included in any measures to establish a pathway to permanent status,’ read the letter.

The lead to write the letter to Pelosi was taken by Congresswoman Deborah K Ross and Congressman Bera.

Among the 22 signatories to the letter is Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna.

Many of these ‘documented dreamers’ were raised in this country, completed their education in the American school system, and graduated with degrees from American institutions of higher education, they wrote.

‘As STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduates, high-performing students, and essential workers, they contribute significantly to our nation,’ the letter said.

However, once these individuals turn 21, they are no longer eligible for temporary visa status as dependents of their parents.

Additionally, due to the decades-long backlogs in the immigrant visa system, many of them will “age out” of eligibility for permanent resident status, even though their parents’ applications remain pending.

Others, such as the dependents of E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrants, have no path to permanent residence, the letter said.

‘After turning 21, ‘documented dreamers’ are forced to obtain their own nonimmigrant status if they want to remain in the United States,’ the lawmakers wrote. However, these options are limited and only temporary in nature.

If they are unable to obtain their own nonimmigrant status, they must make the untenable choice of remaining here with their families without status or returning alone to their country of birth.

Documented Dreamers are also not eligible for protection from removal under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), because it only applies to individuals who were in the United States without lawful status on June 15, 2012.

‘In short, ‘documented dreamers’ are at a disadvantage solely because their parents brought them into the United States in lawful status,’ said the lawmakers.

The letter has been signed by Congressmen Joe Neguse, Jake Auchincloss, Jason Crow, Sylvia Garcia, Gerry Connolly, Grace Meng, Kathy Manning, Linda Sánchez, Ruben Gallego, Suzanne Bonamici, Julia Brownley, Suzan DelBene, Alma Adams, Carolyn Bourdeaux, Jared Huffman, Marilyn Strickland, Nikema Williams, Dwight Evans, Jamaal Bowman, and Derek Kilmer.

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