This week, Dreamers met with President Biden in the White House, just as another poll came out showing majority public support for providing a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. We also saw a reversal of a Trump-era policy that restricted citizenship rights for children born abroad to U.S. couples through assisted reproductive technology (ART).
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1. Biden meets with ‘Dreamers’ in the White House to push pathway to citizenship – Tuesday, May 15
President Biden met last Friday with 6 DACA recipients in the White House. He allowed each “Dreamer” to ask one question during the meeting and speak about their own experiences to showcase his administration’s efforts to provide Dreamers with a path to immigration relief. The future of the DACA program is always slightly uncertain and subject to litigation. There is ongoing litigation in Texas being heard by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas, who is not known for being supportive of the DACA program. Opponents of DACA claim that it is an overreach of power by the executive branch and prevents Congress from creating immigration law, despite the fact that there hasn’t been a major legislative overhaul of immigration law since the early 90s. Supporters argue that given the limited options that are currently available, the DACA program a necessary short-term form of relief for undocumented immigrants to secure work authorization and temporary protection from deportation while they seek other immigration options.
“When I was breaking down, [President Biden] came and he had this moment where he put his forehead on my head and hugged me… And so I think that I believe him, I think that he is going to do his work and to do his all to make sure that the folks who need to hear our stories can hear it so that they’re not just thinking this is a political issue.”
—Astou Thiane, Dreamer who came to the U.S. from Senegal at 7 years old
2. Despite Concerns About Border, Poll Finds Support For More Pathways To Citizenship – Thursday, May 20
Given the uncertain future of the DACA program, NPR/Ipsos conducted a nationwide poll to gauge American’s views on pathways to citizenship for migrants already living here in the United States. A majority of Americans polled were in favor of providing a pathway to citizenship for certain groups of immigrants. These categories included farmworkers, Dreamers, and immigrants who fled from war-torn countries, with support ranging from 66 to 71%. Differences in opinion largely fall on party lines, and the Trump era seems to have lingering effects on overall public opinion on immigration, with the percentage of people agreeing that “immigrants are an important part of our American identity” dropping 9 percentage points from 2020 to 2021.
Read more about the poll here.
“When you just ask people overall if they’re in favor of giving all of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. a path to citizenship, views are pretty split[.] But when you look at specific groups … most Americans can agree that if they meet the qualifications, if they go about it legally, then there should be a path for them.”
—Mallory Newall, a research director at Ipsos
3. State Dept. ends policy denying US citizenship to children born through in vitro, surrogacy – Tuesday, May 18
The U.S. State Department announced this week that it will now allow children born abroad to American couples, regardless of their gender identity, through assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as in vitro fertilization or surrogacy to be granted U.S. citizenship. Previously children born abroad to American parents in these circumstances could be considered “born out of wedlock,” even when the parents were married. This policy has been challenged in multiple lawsuits, alleging that the policy was discriminatory and unlawful, which prompted the State Department to make the change this week. All U.S. diplomatic posts have been instructed to grant U.S. citizenship to these children if the parents are legally married and the child has a genetic or gestational tie to one parent, among other requirements. This policy change is retroactive, so U.S. citizens who meet the current requirements will be eligible to transmit citizenship to their children.
“[This] is going to allow an increased number of married couples, who are using ART (assisted reproductive technology), to transmit citizenship to their children — and we are excited about that,” said a State Department official, calling it a “recognition of the realities of modern family.”
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