The US House of Representatives has passed two key bills that would create a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, some migrant farmworkers and children whose parents immigrated legally to the country, like those under the H-1B visa programme.
The passage of the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021, by the House on Thursday by 228-197 votes, was welcomed by the President Joe Biden, who described it as a critical first step in reforming the country’s immigration system. It will provide much-needed relief to Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders and Dreamers, young people who came here as children and know no other country, Biden said.
“I support this bill, and commend the House of Representatives for passing this important legislation,” Biden said in a statement.
Dreamers are basically undocumented immigrants who enter the US as children with parents. There are nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants, including over 500,000 from India, according to a policy document issued by the Biden campaign in November last.
Among others, the bill also provide relief for “legal dreamers,” the foreign-born children of many nonimmigrant workers, including those on H-1B, who lose their legal status once they reach 21 years of age, which would allow many other promising young people to pursue their version of the “American Dream.”
The H-1B visa, the most sought after among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries such as India and China.