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.
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.
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.”