Roughly 2.5 million immigrants who were left in limbo after Donald Trump moved to end their legal protections, are now one step closer to American citizenship. On Tuesday, the Democrat-led House passed legislation that will grant “Dreamers” a proper pathway to remain in the country indefinitely.
The bill, which passed 237 to 187, is a way to protect undocumented immigrants who came illegally as children or were forced to flee their country because of a natural disaster or violence. Though the measure is expected to fail in the Republican-controlled Senate, Speaker Nancy Pelosi still views it as a “bridge to understanding why we need comprehensive immigration reform for an immigration system that embraces the contributions of our newcomers.” In her remarks, she also added that she hopes Trump will sign the bill into law.
The White House has already said that Trump plans to veto the measure.
The majority of Republicans — eight GOP members sided with Democrats in their vote — believe the bill will only encourage more illegal immigration. They also hold that it does too little to address a flawed immigration system.
As reported by The New York Times, Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) used her time on the floor to argue in favor of the bill. Her remarks further highlighted the division between the parties.
“Because of Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, millions of immigrants across the country live in constant fear that they will face deportation and potentially be separated from their families,” Velázquez said. “Let’s send a strong message to the world that we recognize that immigrants make America America.”
Though Republicans have the power to reject the bill, Democrats are also using what bargaining chips they have left. The party is now standing firm on giving no money to Trump’s border wall. A new spending bill has designated zero new dollars to border barriers or security.
Despite the bitter fight and the bill’s unlikelihood to move anywhere past the House, Dreamers seated in the gallery during Tuesday’s vote kept hope alive. As the vote tally reached a majority, many stood up cheering “Si se puede!” Translation: “Yes we can!”