America is a nation of immigrants, from our founding to today. Immigrants contribute to our communities as our friends, neighbors, and colleagues. The COVID-19 pandemic has further underscored the vital impact that immigrants have on our communities, as many have been working on the front lines. The ongoing mission to help our immigrant communities thrive in the United States is consistent with our nation’s values and is a proven path to forging a stronger economic future.
Fixing our immigration system is critical. Senator Van Hollen wholly supports comprehensive immigration reform and is pursuing several immediate actions to improve the immigration system. First, he is calling for a Senate vote on the House-passed American Dream and Promise Act, which would provide DREAMers the opportunity to apply for permanent legal status and eventually become eligible for citizenship. DREAMers arrived in our country as young children, and when they came out of the shadows, our government promised to protect them. We must keep that promise.
The American Dream and Promise Act also includes relief for recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – in line with legislation that Senator Van Hollen has authored to allow qualified Temporary Protected Status recipients to apply for legal permanent residency. TPS recipients have often come to the U.S. from countries experiencing violence and turmoil. Many TPS recipients have lived here legally for over twenty years and have come to call our country and our state home. We must prioritize providing TPS recipients with security and certainty. Senator Van Hollen has complemented that ongoing effort with an additional push to expand TPS protections to immigrants from other struggling countries that have been overlooked for TPS designation by the Department of Homeland Security.
Elements from these essential bills have been included in President Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, which Senator Van Hollen strongly supports. That sweeping plan not only provides certainty to our DREAMers, TPS recipients, and essential workers who have risked their lives to serve and protect our communities, but it also fixes our broken immigration system across-the-board, makes smart investments to secure our borders against human and drug trafficking, and marks an important reversal of the Trump Administration’s backward immigration policies. This bill provides an expanded pathway to citizenship for hardworking people who make our communities stronger every day, and Senator Van Hollen is determined to work with the Biden Administration and with Senate colleagues to get it passed.
Ever-committed to building on our nation’s tradition of embracing immigrant communities, Senator Van Hollen is also working to stand up against actions that break with our values. Senator Van Hollen visited the border during the Trump Administration’s implementation of its shameful family separation policy, and he witnessed, first-hand, the plight many were facing. Before, during, and after that visit, Senator Van Hollen has sounded the alarm whenever our own government violates the rules of due process. Toward that end, he has worked with colleagues to ensure that agencies prioritize enforcement against those who pose a security threat rather than dividing families and communities.
The story of America is the story of immigrants. Senator Van Hollen is partnering with colleagues to stay true to that fact and live up to our nation’s long tradition of embracing those who come here seeking to join our communities and find new opportunities.