Documented dreamers, legislators hail House passage of ‘aging out’ amendment

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Documented Dreamers posing with lawmakers Ross and Bera on May 18, 2022 at the Capitol Hill in Washington DC. PHOTO: T. Vishnudatta Jayaraman, News India Times

Washington D.C: This July 14, 2022, Congresswomen Deborah Ross, D-North Carolina, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, and Zoe Lofgren, D-California, led the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which will protect more than 200,000 young immigrants known as “Documented Dreamers.”

“Documented Dreamers represent the very best of America and contribute in significant ways to our national security,” Congresswoman Ross said, adding, “I am incredibly proud that this amendment has passed the House, and I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate to get it across the finish line.”

Chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, Congresswoman Lofgren said, “I am proud that the House passed this important bipartisan amendment.”

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“I am proud to see the House pass this bipartisan measure to protect young dependents of long-term visa holders who have grown up in the U.S. and have come here legally,” Congresswoman Miller-Meeks said.

Founder of Improve The Dream, Dip Patel told News India Times, “I am extremely happy that the House passed the amendment with broad bipartisan support last week.”

Patel, a Documented Dreamer, who was born in India, in a statement following the passage of the bill, praised the bipartisan support for attempting to permanently end aging out. “Over 200,000 young people have more hope than ever that they will have a chance to continue contributing, giving back to their communities, and helping their country’s future. It is now clear that keeping American raised and educated talent here is important for our prosperity and national security,” Patel said.

Urging the Senate to include this provision in the final bill, Patel cautioned, “delay in taking action will not only lead to tearing more families apart, but also continue to hurt American communities. Passage of this provision reaffirms that America welcomes those who are drawn toward its ideals, and that by empowering people to tap into their talents and ambitions, the American dream grows more attainable for everybody.”

Welcoming the bipartisan amendment, Athulya Rajakumar, a recent graduate of the University of Texas, who aged out in January 2020 when she turned 21, told News India Times, “words can’t express my emotions. Finally, a path to a law that will address and solve the hardships of hundreds of thousands like me. Fighting for our right to citizenship with Improve The Dream has changed my life, and we won’t stop till we finish.”

On March 15th, Rajakumar, while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety stated that members of Improve The Dream hope that one day everyone who grows up in America can become an American citizen and fully contribute to their country. “Members of this subcommittee can make this a reality by passing America’s CHILDREN Act, a bipartisan bill that would permanently end aging out and ensure that children like me, who are raised and educated with a documented status receive a clear opportunity to apply for permanent residency.”

Born in India, Rajakumar who immigrated to the US along with her mother and brother when she was four years old, added “though the immigration system has constantly tested my faith, I’m thankful my mom brought me here. We are Americans. And all we hope is to be recognized as that to finally give meaning to the lives that we have lived here so far. I hope you can improve the dream for all of us.”

Notably, around 40 Documented Dreamers, most of them Indian origin, joined Indian-American congressman, Ami Bera, D-California, congresswoman Ross, Senators Alex Padilla, D-California, Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, to share their stories and push for the America’s CHILDREN Act during a press conference at Capitol Hill on May 18th.

Last year, Congresswomen Ross and Miller-Meeks introduced the Act in an effort to

guarantee a path to citizenship for Documented Dreamers. Senators Padilla, and Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, introduced a companion legislation in the Senate.

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