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Advocacy groups pan Tillis’ rigorous proposal to provide undocumented youth with legal status (with video)

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis [1] (R-N.C.) unveiled a “merit-based” plan on Monday aimed at addressing the legal uncertainty facing young undocumented adults who were brought to this country as children.

Tillis says the SUCCEED Act would provide a fair but rigorous track for undocumented children to qualify for conditional permanent resident (CPR) status. Here’s more from the Senator’s office [2] on the proposed  vetting process:

After five years of CPR status, individuals may renew their status for another five years if they fulfill their commitment to pursue at least one of the three merit-based pathways for a 48-month period and demonstrate good moral character. Individuals could lose their CPR status if they fail to fulfill their merit-based obligations, commit a felony or a serious misdemeanor, or become a “public charge” (defined by the USCIS as one who becomes primarily dependent on the government for subsistence).

After 10 years of holding CPR status, individuals would be eligible to apply for Lawful Permanent Status (LPR) or a “green card” after paying off any tax liabilities. The bill requires green card holders to wait a minimum of 5 years before they are able to apply for naturalization if they choose to.

Additionally, the SUCCEED Act prevents the parents of undocumented children from receiving benefits or preferential treatment, and prevents undocumented children from petitioning their parents.

Olivia Golden, executive director of national, nonpartisan group CLASP [3] said a more sensible, inclusive solution for young immigrants is the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017 [4]:

“Contrary to its name, the SUCCEED Act sets Dreamers up for failure by making it nearly impossible for them to get and stay on the path to citizenship. The bill creates extreme hurdles for young immigrants who would simultaneously be required to work or pursue a college education while at the same time barring them from the very supports that we know help low-income families and students succeed. Furthermore, the bill would exclude hundreds of thousands of young people, including many parents of U.S. citizen children, through its overly restrictive requirements. We urge Congress to focus on passing a clean legislative solution like the Dream Act of 2017 that reflects the full diversity of Dreamers and provides them with an attainable path to earn their citizenship and continue to contribute to our country.”

Kamal Essaheb, policy and advocacy director at the National Immigration Law Center, [5] issued the following statement:

“We’re glad to see continued growth in bipartisan support for a legislative solution for immigrant youth, but the SUCCEED Act clearly falls short. This bill is not a serious alternative to a clean Dream Act.

“Leaders in Congress should be focused on moving swiftly to provide certainty to immigrant young people whose lives have been upended by President Trump’s cruel decision to end DACA. Placing unnecessary barriers to their full inclusion is a step backward. It’s simply cruel to make immigrant youth choose between a secure future for themselves and being able to remain in the U.S. with their families.”