On September 25, two Republican senators, Thom Tillis (R-NC) and James Lankford (R-OK), introduced a conservative version of the DREAM Act called the SUCCEED Act. In spite of its cheerful name, the bill would represent more delays in the legalization process for DREAMers, piling on more background scrutiny and conditions.
Proponents describe the bill as having three merit-based tracks, ignoring the fact that merit has already been demonstrated through the DACA process.
The SUCCEED Act also calls for an extensive criminal background check, which already exists through the DACA program but would be extended and made more intrusive. Please consider the case of the MAVNI program, in which the vetting process has been extended to the extreme, effectively halting the program.
Additionally, the SUCCEED Act proposes to stop the chain of family migration by preventing applicants from petitioning their families and loved ones for years.
Democratic lawmakers introduced a discharge petition to bring the DREAM Act to the floor. This forces legislation to be brought to the floor, regardless of opposition by the Speaker of the House.
Under the SUCCEED Act, the path to legalization would take, in the best of circumstances, 15 years.
The DACA-DREAMer-led organization DRM Action Coalition summarized the bill in this infographic:
Republican and Democratic lawmakers have six months to reach an agreement on a legislative fix to the dissolution of the DACA program, scheduled for March 2018. The end of the program will put young immigrants in danger of deportation and will take away work permits and other benefits. This heartless termination of the program was announced by President Trump on September 5.
Currently, there are several proposals to fix the young immigrants’ situation. The only bipartisan proposal continues to be the DREAM Act.
Richard Durbin, a longtime champion of undocumented youth, said the SUCCEED Act falls short of protecting those who were brought to the U.S. as children and have lived in the country for decades.
Late on September 25, a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced a discharge petition to bring the DREAM Act to the floor. This legislative maneuver, if supported by at least 218 members of the House, forces legislation to be brought to the floor, regardless of opposition by the Speaker of the House.
Supporters of the DREAM Act feel confident they can convince 24 Republicans to sign into the legislation since they need their votes to counteract the Democrats’ minority position in both chambers of Congress.
Democrats have only 194 seats in the House of Representatives.