NEW YORK - Born in Pakistan, Hina Naveed came to live in the United States when she was just a child. Her parents brought their family because her sister needed better medical care. Hina went on to become a registered nurse and then completed law school.
She is one of nearly 3 million so-called Dreamers living in the U.S. almost her whole life and is eager to become a citizen. Dreamers are U.S. residents who were brought into the country illegally as children.
"The fact that we don't have a pathway to citizenship right now is unconscionable," Hina said. "Undocumented immigrants pay taxes, they contribute to the economy and deserve that pathway to citizenship."
The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives is taking up two bills this week. One addresses farm workers. The other, known as the Dream and Promise act, would address the legal status of Dreamers.
"It would provide a path to citizenship for all of the so-called Dreamers — those who arrived as legally as children and spent most of their lives here," said Theresa Brown of the Bipartisan Policy Center.
President Donald Trump tried to rescind the legal status of Dreamers granted by the Obama administration. He lost in court.
President Joe Biden used an executive order to return temporary legal status to Dreamers. But only Congress can give Dreamers permanent legal status.
"We are seeing a concerted push at the very least to see the status of the Dreamers addressed by Congress," Brown said.
The bills may do better in the House than in the Senate. Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham and some other Republicans want to delay taking up the bills impacting Dreamers until the Biden administration does more to address the border crisis.
More than 4,000 unaccompanied minors are straining the U.S. immigration system. FEMA has been deployed to help with housing and other services. The Dallas Convention Center was just converted into a temporary shelter for migrant teens.
Immigration reform, which has daunted many prior administrations, is likely to be a new test for the Biden administration.
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