Last week, Senator Thom Tillis and two of his colleagues introduced a bill called “The Succeed Act,” which stands for “Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Employment, Education and Defending our nation.”
After President Trump announced that DACA would be rescinded within 6 months, he contacted senators to come up with a new plan, to draft legislation that would replace DACA.
Legal status in the United States is currently uncertain for thousands of children of illegal immigrants. According to this new bill, if you came to this country under the age of sixteen, follow the law, pay taxes, then you can remain in the country with legal status.
The three sponsors of the proposed bill argue that DACA was an executive order, a temporary solution with no permanency. This put families in turmoil every two years, always questioning whether or not they would remain. They propose that The Succeed Act is the legislative solution that these families need.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Oren Hatch, said in a press conference, “I’m tired of this problem.” “We need a permanent solution, not just kicking it down the road.”
Senator Tillis stated in the same press conference, “It’s completely merit based. It ensures fairness. There’s no skipping in line.”
There are at least 27,385 dreamers in NC. What would the Succeed Act mean for them?
The naturalization process would take approximately fifteen years and participants must have a clean criminal record. Throughout those fifteen years, undocumented children who arrived to the United States before the age of 16 and before June of 2012 (when DACA was enacted) must proceed through three phases. During these phases, they can apply for conditional residence for five years, then must eventually earn a high school diploma or equivalent, commit to either maintaining employment for 48 out of 60 months, earning a post-secondary or vocational degree, or serve honorably in the military for three years, and eventually apply for a green card, or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. And after five years with a green card, they can apply to be a naturalized citizen.
“During that 15-year time frame they have access to work, access to school, access to travel, so they have those basic freedoms in place, that individuals on DACA do not have right now,” Senator Lankford said. “We want to create some sort of permanence but put them in the line so they can go through the process.”
But some critics are crying “amnesty!” Why? Because the Succeed Act allows for the children of undocumented immigrants to eventually sponsor their parents for naturalization, a process known as chain migration.
And let’s face it– this 15-year naturalization process will be a great burden on taxpayers, since these individuals will assume many of the benefits existing citizens receive, including public education.
But as always the devil is in the details . Several questions remain unanswered, such as:
How will the vetting process work?
What exactly does a “clean criminal record” mean?
Are they registered to vote and have they been voting illegally? Of course, this would constitute a felony.?
What challenge will the exponential influx of immigrants bring to our vetting process?
And what will happen to those who refuse to take part in this naturalization process and remain here illegally?
Yes, there are many questions.
The bottom line is that President Obama’s executive action (DACA) was inadequate and Congress needs to address the uncertainty of the future for children of illegal immigrants.
But is The Succeed Act the best way to do this?