The Hill: Congress Should Pass Curbelo’s RAC Act to Protect DREAMers
In recognition of the urgency of the issue, a group of pragmatic House Republicans proposed the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act, which creates a rigorous but fair process to protect DREAMers who consistently contribute positively to our economy and society by working, studying or serving in the military. Passing the RAC Act is the best way to ensure DREAMers are on a permanent, sound legal footing with a pathway to fully participating in American life.
In most cases, they have been in America for years. Most know of no other home but America, and for many, no other language but English. They are American in every way — except in immigration status.
The RAC Act would bring stability to this population. It would provide legal status to young undocumented immigrants that work full-time, enroll in school or serve in the military. Immigrants would only be eligible after a rigorous background check, including biometrics and a medical exam.
At the end of the five years, only those individuals who maintain a clean criminal record, avoid reliance on public assistance, pay back taxes with interest, and demonstrate continued employment, educational records or proof of ongoing service or an honorable discharge can apply to adjust their status to permanent residency.
It is worth noting that offering this vulnerable population legal status makes both political and economic sense.
First of all, it is wasteful for law enforcement to divert resources to deporting members of this population when they can focus their resources on those who are real threats to public safety or national security.
What’s more, in a recent study by University of Chicago, Professor Nolan Pope found that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — a prosecutorial discretion tool used to defer removal of eligible Dreamer applicants and provide work authorization — moved tens of thousands of young immigrants into the labor force. As a result, incomes rose, thereby increasing tax contributions and stimulating economic growth. Estimates put DREAMers’ economic contributions in the hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years.
Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), who introduced the RAC Act, said, “These are America's children, and it's about time that we accept them and that we give them that path to full American citizenship so they can fully participate and enjoy in the American experience.”
The RAC Act presents an opportunity for Republicans to prove their commitment to practical immigration reform
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