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Neguse takes lead in backing Dream Act as Democrats pass House version

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June 5, 2019, 11:05 am

The U.S. House of Representatives late Tuesday voted 237 to 187 (with seven Republicans joining every Democrat) to pass the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019 (H.R. 6) to protect more than 2 million DACA, TPS and DED recipients living in the United States.

Rep. Joe Neguse

The Colorado delegation voted along party lines, with the majority of four Colorado Democrats – including Vail Valley representative Joe Neguse of Boulder – voting in favor of the long-awaited legislation. All three Colorado Republicans voted against the bill, which faces a bleak outlook in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate.

Tuesday’s vote marks only the fourth time in the last 30 years that one chamber of Congress has passed this type of legislation aimed at protected so-called “Dreamers” from deportation. Colorado is home to about 17,000 Dreamers — including many here in the Vail Valley – who enrolled in President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Polling shows  a majority of all Americans (not just Democrats) favor a pathway to citizenship for the more than 700,000 Dreamers nationwide – or children of illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. at a very young age and have registered with the program and obeyed the law, gone to school, paid taxes and worked for many years.

Neguse, whose 2nd Congressional District includes Boulder and Fort Collins and stretches up into the mountains to include the eastern third of Eagle County, was chosen to represent the Democratic caucus and respond to Republicans trying to shoot down the bill. See a video of his floor testimony here. 

“As the son of immigrants, I was beyond honored to deliver the rebuttal on the House floor as we debated HR6, and even prouder to cast my vote as we passed the #DreamAndPromiseAct tonight!” Neguse tweeted. The bill would also protect TPS (Temporary Protected Status) and DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) recipients.

Marissa Molina

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Cortez Republican whose district includes most of the Western Slope and the western two-thirds of Eagle County, voted against the bill, but as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday had offered no comment on social media or his official congressional website.

Colorado Springs Republican Doug Lamborn, issued this statement after voting against the bill:

“There is an ongoing crisis at our southern border that we must address. Unfortunately, H.R. 6 avoids the problem and instead grants amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, including gang members and those convicted of felony or misdemeanor offenses,” Lamborn said. “We must provide funding to address the crisis at the border and give border patrol agents the necessary resources to combat this growing problem.”

The bill is unlikely to even get a vote in the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate, let alone the signature of hardline anti-immigration President Donald Trump.

Colorado’s two U.S. Senators – Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Cory Gardner – co-sponsored a Senate version of the Dream Act in 2017. In 2018, they again joined forces to offer an amendment that protected Dreamers in an immigration bill that would have provided $25 billion in border security. The Trump administration scuttled those efforts.

Immigration advocacy groups, such as the tech industry lobby FWD.us, cheered Tuesday’s passage of H.R. 6.

“We applaud the U.S. House of Representatives for taking the important step of passing the Dream and Promise Act, which would allow nearly 40,000 Coloradans to continue building their lives in the United States,” said FWD.us Colorado State Immigration Manager Marissa Molina, who grew up in Glenwood Springs. “For decades, immigrants of all backgrounds – including Dreamers and TPS holders – have contributed to the economic and social fabric of our state.”

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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