Columbia, SC — This week, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), alongside Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Dream Act of 2019, forging a first step toward a bipartisan plan for immigration reform. The bill is identical to legislation filed last year and would pave a path for young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors to earn legal status and eventual citizenship, provided they meet educational or military requirements, pass a background check and remain in good legal standing.
The bill would provide these key protections and opportunities to over 10,500 young people in South Carolina, most of whom were raised and educated right here in our state. These young people have been subject to continued uncertainty since September 2017, when the Trump Administration announced it would end the highly successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Despite the fact that numerous federal courts have ruled against the Administration, keeping existing protections in place, these young people deserve to have the security and opportunity that will only come through a permanent solution, passed by Congress.
In addition, Senators Van Hollen (D-MD) and Cardin (D-MD) also introduced an updated version of the SECURE Act, which would similarly create a pathway to citizenship for people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
Both bills would protect immigrant communities in our state and around the country, halting the impossible choices many families face daily, between uprooting the lives they have built here over the course of decades or staying in the U.S with all of the risks of being unable to work with full documentation.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” said Sue Berkowitz, Director of South Carolina Appleseed Legal Justice Center. “We’re talking about vital members of communities across our state. These are young people who were brought into our country as children, and folks who were welcomed after their home countries were torn by war or other major disasters. They deserve to experience the same dignity and stability that we hope to see for all South Carolinians, and the Dream Act and Secure Act of 2019 represent long overdue first steps in that direction.”
As an organization committed to expanding equal opportunity to all communities in South Carolina, SC Appleseed supports these bills as a first and necessary step toward creating a more just and equitable society.