Kamala Harris’ Plan To Forge A Roadmap To Citizenship By Executive Action
Dreamers grew up in our communities and pledge allegiance to our flag. They serve in our military and thrive in our universities. Their families are an integral part of our country and economy. They represent the best of who we are and know no other place but the United States as their home.
Donald Trump can’t change that. And despite his best efforts, he can’t shake the resolve of our Dreamers and the hope they have in the America we’ll build when he’s gone. It’s an America where families are kept together, not torn apart. It’s an America where children are cared for, not kept in cages. It’s an America where Dreamers are finally recognized for what they are: Americans.
As the child of immigrants, that’s the America Kamala Harris will build—and she doesn’t believe Dreamers should have to wait a moment longer. As president, Harris will take executive action to keep immigrant families together and eliminate barriers that prevent Dreamers from accessing a path to U.S. citizenship.
We estimate the plan will protect over 6 million immigrants from deportation, add up to $445 billion to U.S. GDP over ten years, and provide America’s 2.1 million Dreamers a path to citizenship if they have a congressionally-required family- or employment-based grounds to adjust status.
Make no mistake – Congress must pass 21st century immigration reform, and Harris will fight to get it done as president. But while she fights to reform our laws, Harris will do everything within her legal authority as president to roll back Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda and build a future that lives up to America’s values.
Here’s how we’ll do it
Harris will immediately reinstate DACA and expand the program to ensure more Dreamers feel safe and secure in the only country they call home.
- Every day we don’t act to protect Dreamers is a day our country is failing an important moral test. That’s why Harris will reinstate DACA immediately upon taking office.
- Harris will also expand DACA by eliminating the requirement that Dreamers apply before they turn 31 years-old, raising the age at time of entry from 15 year-old and under to 17-years old and under, allowing little Dreamers under 15 years-old to apply for protection with parental or guardian consent, increasing the two-year term of DACA protection to three years, and updating the cutoff date for entry into the United States.
Parents of American citizens and legal permanent residents will be protected from the prospect of deportation, as will other law-abiding immigrants with ties to our communities.
- Under the plan, parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents will be eligible to apply for deferred action if they pass a background check and have lived in the U.S. since a specified date. The deferred action program will also be open to other law-abiding immigrants with ties to their communities and will consider factors such as service in the military, extended residence in the United States, and whether an individual has deferred action-beneficiary children, spouses, or parents.
- The program will be administered on a case-by-case basis and conform to the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act.
- It’s simple: Harris believes we should not be tearing apart immigrant families. Unlike in the past, her administration will focus our enforcement resources on those who actually pose a public safety threat, not families, veterans, and individuals contributing to our communities.
Dreamers will apply for the relief they need to obtain a Green Card and start the path to citizenship. Harris will use every tool available via executive action to eliminate unnecessary barriers, including:
- Harris will use her parole authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) to create a first-of-its kind “Dreamers Parole-in-Place Program.” Similar programs currently exist to unite families ravaged by earthquakes in Haiti and ensure families of service members can remain in America. This will allow Dreamers who have a U.S. citizen spouse to apply for removal of a technical bar that prevents many from obtaining a Green Card.
- Harris will issue a rule clarifying Dreamers were not at “fault” for a lapse in their status. Currently, the INA is interpreted as barring many Dreamers from adjusting their immigration status because they’ve failed “to maintain continuously a lawful status since entry.” However, the INA includes an exception for immigrants whose inability to maintain status was, according to the statute, due to “no fault of [their] own.” Harris will issue a rulemaking clarifying the term “no fault of [their] own” includes being brought to the U.S. as a child.
- Harris will direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to retroactively grant work authorization to DACA recipients. Another clause of the INA bars Dreamers from adjusting their immigration status if they have “accept[ed] unauthorized employment.” However, the Secretary of Homeland Security, has statutory authority to grant work authorization. Harris will allow DACA recipients to apply for work authorization retroactively, just as past Attorneys General have done in the context of other inadmissibility grounds.
- Harris will provide relief from the 3- and 10-year bars faced by Dreamers and other deferred action recipients when they attempt to obtain a Green Card from a U.S. consulate abroad. The INA provides the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive the 3- and 10-year bars in cases of “extreme hardship.” Harris will issue a rulemaking clarifying that separation from a close family member creates a rebuttable presumption of “extreme hardship.”