Connecticut, US

Jun 05 2019

House of Representatives Passes Relief Bill for Dreamers and Others

United States

At a glance

  • The bill would permit foreign nationals who entered the United States before the age of 18 and met other requirements to apply for conditional residence, with a path to full permanent residence and citizenship.
  • Nationals of countries designated for Temporary Protected Status, and those who have received a grant of Deferred Enforced Departure could apply for permanent residence within three years after enactment of the bill.
  • Though relief for Dreamers has bipartisan support, the bill is not expected to be taken up on the Senate.

The issue

Late Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, the American Dream and Promise Act.  H.R. 6 would provide a path to permanent residence and U.S. citizenship for certain foreign nationals who entered the United States before the age of 18, nationals of countries designated for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and those granted Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).

The bill was passed by a vote of 237-187, with seven House Republicans voting for the legislation. 

Relief for Dreamers

The bill would allow eligible foreign nationals to apply for 10-year conditional permanent residence if:

  • They entered the United States before they turned 18;
  • They have been continuously physically present in the United States in the four years before enactment of the bill, with some exceptions for short trips and government-authorized travel;
  • They are not inadmissible to the United States on certain criminal or national security grounds; and
  • They are enrolled in secondary school; have earned a high school diploma, GED or post-secondary certificate; or have been admitted to an institution of higher education.



DACA recipients would be directly eligible for conditional residence unless they have become ineligible for DACA renewal. Those who would have qualified for initial DACA benefits according to the terms of the original program, even if they never applied for DACA protection, would also be directly eligible for conditional residence. Foreign nationals who were removed from the United States or voluntarily departed could apply for conditional residence from abroad in some circumstances, provided they received or were eligible for DACA.

Those granted conditional residence could apply for full permanent resident status if:

  • They continue to meet the initial requirements;
  • They have not abandoned their U.S. residence; and
  • They have –
    • Earned a degree from an institution of higher education or completed two years of post-secondary education;
    • Served for two years in the U.S. military and received an honorable discharge, if applicable; or
    • Been employed for at least three years and 75% of the time they had valid employment authorization.

Relief for Nationals of TPS Countries and DED Beneficiaries

The bill would provide a direct path to permanent residence for nationals of countries designated for Temporary Protected Status as of September 25, 2016 and those with a grant of Deferred Enforced Departure as of September 28, 2016.  Foreign nationals would need to demonstrate that they have been continuously physically present in the United States for three years before enactment of the bill and would have to apply within three years after enactment. Foreign nationals who were removed from the United States or voluntarily departed could apply from abroad in limited circumstances.

What the bill means for foreign nationals and employers

Though a path to permanent residence and citizenship for Dreamers and others has had broad bipartisan support for some years, H.R. 6 is not expected to be taken up by the U.S. Senate and thus is unlikely to become law.

Foreign nationals who currently hold DACA status continue to be eligible to renew their status under a court order that temporarily prevents the Trump Administration from rescinding the program. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the Administration’s request to expedite review of lower court decisions on the DACA rescission and did so again on June 3.

Similarly, though the Trump Administration has announced the termination of TPS designations for El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua and Sudan, TPS benefits for those countries continue under court order while legal challenges to the terminations are underway. The Administration has extended the expiration of Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberian nationals through March 2020.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.