WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The House of Representatives passed an immigration bill Tuesday that would provide a road to citizenship for millions of immigrants.
The bill would provide legal U.S. residency for certain groups of immigrants living in the country under temporary government programs.
According to the Center for American Progress, 2.5 million people would gain a road to citizenship.
Linda Clark, a Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipient, is one of those people.
“I’ve been here for 19 years in this country and I’ve been working paying taxes, doing my due diligence,” Clark said.
Democrats like Nevada Rep. Dina Titus said the Dream and Promise Act is what the United States is about.
“The symbol of the United States must always be the Statue of Liberty,” said Titus. “We should be putting up a welcoming mat, not building a wall.”
The largest group of people who would benefit are those who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) because they came to the U.S. illegally as children and many don’t remember their home countries or speak their native languages.
Republicans like Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington expressed strong opposition to the legislation.
“To reward those who come over here illegally over the millions who have respected our laws and waited in line to become citizens,” Arrington said.
Jose Palma is another immigrant living in the country legally with a temporary protected status from El Salvador.
“I haven’t seen the line and I have been living in the United States as many of my fellow TPS recipients for the last 21 years,” he said.
Palma said he has no choice but to maintain hope — even though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed his chamber is where Democratic bills go to die.