Post submitted by former Senior International Policy Advocate Jeremy Kadden

On Monday, September 25, three Senate Republicans introduced the SUCCEED Act (S.1852), a bill that would create a pathway to legalization for so-called “Dreamers,” which falls short in protecting this vulnerable population in a number of ways.

Dreamers are undocumented young people who were brought to the U.S. as minors, many of whom have been allowed to stay and continue their studies and work in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. But the Trump-Pence administration has announced the cancellation of the DACA program over the next six months. It is estimated that approximately 75,000 Dreamers are LGBTQ.

HRC has endorsed the 2017 DREAM Act (H.R.3440/S.1615), which would provide a path to citizenship and stop the deportation of Dreamers. The SUCCEED Act, however, takes a different approach in trying to address the Dreamers. While it has some provisions that are similar to the DREAM Act, it would require them to wait 15 years before they can apply for citizenship — far longer than the DREAM Act. It would also exclude Dreamers with minor traffic offenses, subjecting them to expedited removal, and prevent any Dreamers from sponsoring family members to join them in the U.S. Perhaps most disturbing, it would require future visa holders of any kind, such as students or temporary workers (not just Dreamers), to sign away their rights to an immigration hearing or other benefits if they violate the terms of their visa. Also, unlike the bipartisan DREAM Act, the SUCCEED Act was introduced without any support from Democrats.

Last month, HRC spoke to an LGBTQ Dreamer, Sheridan Aguirre, about his experience as an LGBTQ DACA recipient living in Texas.

Many LGBTQ Dreamers could be sent back to countries that have poor LGBTQ human rights records. For example, in El Salvador, transgender women have faced such a tremendous upsurge in violence that the United Nations called for an investigation into the situation.

HRC continues to call on Congress to immediately pass the bipartisan DREAM Act. For the estimated 36,000 LGBTQ Dreamers who have benefited from DACA, the prospect of deportation is truly frightening.

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