By Nelson A. King
NEW YORK, CMC – Caribbean American Yvette D. Clarke has condemned US President Donald J. Trump’s latest immigration plan, saying that it is “yet another attack on immigrant families..
“America has a long history of welcoming loved ones of those already here,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 9th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York.
“But the White House wants to end that practice, while also eliminating the diversity lottery. He calls it a ‘merit-based’ approach, but we can see past the legalese. It’s another attempt to keep immigrant families, and especially those from places like the Caribbean, separated,” Clarke told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
“Fortunately, this plan to deny green cards will meet a red light in Congress, and I’ll be proud to lead the charge against it.”
Last Thursday, Trump unveiled his plan to overhaul parts of America’s immigration system, imposing new security measures at the Southern US border and dramatically enhancing the educational and skills requirements for new immigrants.
The plan would “transform America’s immigration system into the pride of our nation and the envy of the modern world,” Trump said, adding “our proposal builds upon our nation’s rich history of immigration, while strengthening the bonds of citizenship that bind us together as a national family”.
Trump said his plan prioritizes merit-based immigration by restricting the number of people who could get green cards through asylum or based on family ties.
But Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, said Trump’s plan “repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans”
She described the plan as “dead-on-arrival” and “not a remotely serious proposal.”
In early March, Clarke joined three of her congressional colleagues in introducing the Dream and Promise Act, also known as H.R. 6, in the US House of Representatives that would allow the US-raised immigrant youth known as “Dreamers” to earn lawful permanent residence and American citizenship.
Clarke said the bill is the 116th Congress’s version of the Dream Act, a bill which has been introduced since 2001.
However, Clarke said H.R. 6 includes protections and a path to citizenship not just for Dreamers but also for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians, among others, and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) beneficiaries.
“We need comprehensive immigration reform that protects Dreamers, as well as TPS and DED beneficiaries.That’s why I am proud to be a co-lead on the Dream and Promise Act (HR 6).
“This bill will include a path to citizenship for Dreamers, as well as for people covered by Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure.This bill builds upon the Dream Act, the American Promise Act, and the ASPIRE TPS Act, which I introduced last Congress.”
Clarke told CMC that the Dream and Promise Act allows Dreamers and individuals with TPS and DED to “contribute fully in the country they love and know to be their home by providing a pathway to citizenship.”
She said the Dream and Promise Act would grant Dreamers conditional permanent resident status for 10 years, and cancel removal proceedings if they have been continuously physically present in the US for four years preceding the date of the enactment of the bill and were 17 years old or younger on the initial date of entry into the US.
Clarke also said the Act would, among other things, grant Dreamers conditional permanent resident status if they graduated from high school, obtained a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) or industry recognized credential, or were in a program assisting students in obtaining a high school diploma, GED or equivalent exam, or in an apprenticeship program.
In order to gain full lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, Clarke said Dreamers must acquire a degree from a US institution of higher education; or complete at least two years in good standing in a bachelor’s or higher degree program or in an area career and technical education program at a post-secondary level in the US.
For LPR, Clarke said Dreamers must also complete at least two years of military service, and if discharged, received an honourable discharge; or employed for periods of time totalling at least three years. – CMC