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WASHINGTON, DC- Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) has partnered with U.S. Representatives Deborah Ross (D-NC), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), and Young Kim (R-CA), as well as Senators Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Rand Paul (R-KY), to reintroduce the bipartisan America’s CHILDREN Act. This legislation aims to protect children of long-term visa holders, known as Documented Dreamers, from being forced to self-deport when they turn 21 years old. Currently, Documented Dreamers, many of whom have grown up in the United States, age out of the system at 21 and are compelled to leave the U.S. and return to their country of birth, depriving them of their future and livelihoods in America.
Congressman Krishnamoorthi stated, “Many children of long-term visa holders who have grown up in the United States and embraced the American Dream as their own are forced by the ongoing failures of our immigration system to leave before they can start their careers and write their own American success story. I’m proud to partner with my colleagues from both parties on this legislation to provide a pathway for these young people to continue to contribute to our nation while building their lives here.”
Congresswoman Ross emphasized that Documented Dreamers are an integral part of American communities, attending schools, learning alongside their peers, and embodying the best of America. She believes it is long overdue to reform the broken immigration system and grant Documented Dreamers the opportunity to remain in the country they love and call home.
Senator Padilla stressed that Documented Dreamers are essentially Americans in every aspect except for their parent’s green card being entangled in bureaucratic red tape. The America’s CHILDREN Act seeks to rectify this moral wrong resulting from an outdated immigration system. The bill would prevent these young individuals from aging out of their parents’ visa at the age of 21 and create additional green card opportunities for Documented Dreamers. Senator Padilla urged his colleagues to stand up and do the right thing for the hundreds of thousands of young people affected.
Congresswoman Miller-Meeks expressed her support for the America’s CHILDREN Act, highlighting that these students grew up in the United States, attended school, and are part of communities, friends, and neighbors who want to contribute to making the country a better place.
Congresswoman Kim, an immigrant herself, introduced the bipartisan America’s CHILDREN Act to support Documented Dreamers who came to the nation legally as children and have made positive contributions. She recognizes that the United States is the only home they know, and it is crucial to establish a fair, humane, and compassionate legal immigration system that allows immigrant children to achieve their American Dream.
Representative Ami Bera, M.D., emphasized that communities like Sacramento County are home to H-1B and other long-term visa holders who contribute significantly as neighbors, friends, educators, scientists, and doctors. However, over 200,000 children of nonimmigrant visa holders face the prospect of self-deportation and family separation due to backlogs in the immigrant visa system. Representative Bera believes it is the moral duty to provide these young individuals with a pathway to permanent residency, protecting them from the threat of leaving the only country they know due to a broken immigration system.
The America’s CHILDREN Act aims to address the plight of over 250,000 children and young adults living in the United States as dependents of long-term nonimmigrant visa holders. These individuals have grown up in the country, attended American schools, and graduated from American universities. However, they are not eligible for protection under DACA or the associated work authorization because they have maintained legal status.
Key provisions of the America’s CHILDREN