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Proposed legislation could protect some immigrants

Dreamers in Illinois and throughout the country will have a pathway to citizenship if the American Dream and Promise Act becomes law. It was passed in the House of Representatives by a count of 237-187, and the vote was largely along party lines. It is unlikely to be passed by the Senate unless the legislation includes more funding for border security. Republicans also expressed concern that the proposed law would undercut those who have attempted to gain legal status properly.

The American Dream and Promise Act would protect roughly 2.5 million people from possible deportation. This includes those who are protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. It would also include about 1.5 million who are not eligible for DACA or who didn't apply. Others who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or similar authorization to be in the country would also benefit from this proposed law.

Those who were brought to America as children would be granted residency status for 10 years. They would need to serve in the military, graduate from college or work full-time to qualify for permanent residency. They would also need to pass a background check as a condition for full legal status. Those with TPS or similar status could become permanent residents immediately under the terms of the legislation.

Individuals who come to the United States may be entitled to become a permanent resident or citizen at some point. Those who have a desire to do so may want to consult with legal counsel to determine if they are eligible for such status. If not, an attorney may be able to recommend ways to remain in the United States legally. This may include applying for asylum or asking a judge to make a discretionary decision on humanitarian grounds.

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