SUCCEED Act is a Failure for Young Immigrants

Washington, D.C.—Today, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and James Lankford (R-OK) released the SUCCEED Act, which would provide a very narrow, long, and restrictive path to citizenship for undocumented immigrant youth and young adults, also known as “Dreamers.” The proposal is a response to the predicament of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers who came to the United States as children and are now destined to be deported with the recent rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by President Trump.

The SUCCEED Act would leave out many Dreamers, including those who are current beneficiaries of the DACA program. The bill includes overly restrictive requirements on date of entry and age that would once again leave out hundreds of thousands of young people who aged out of the 2012 DACA program and previous legislative proposals. The bill also includes unrealistic requirements that put potential beneficiaries at greater risk of falling out of status and bar them from obtaining citizenship. For example, the bill would deny potential beneficiaries from qualifying for an additional five-year period of conditional status should they use supports like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), which are critical for working families and low-income students. The bill also penalizes immigrants if they encounter hard times and may need health or nutrition assistance at some point on their 15-year path to citizenship and fails to create exceptions for young parents, potentially leaving out more than 200,000 DACA recipients who are parents to young U.S. citizen children.

A much more sensible, inclusive solution for young immigrants is the bipartisan Dream Act of 2017, which includes lawful status and a clear path to citizenship to certain immigrant youth and young adults who came to the United States as children, including DACA recipients. CLASP joined with 320 other child and youth advocacy organizations last week in calling for the quick passage of the DREAM Act.

In response to today’s introduction of the SUCCEED Act, Olivia Golden, executive director of CLASP issued the following statement:

“Contrary to its name, the SUCCEED Act sets Dreamers up for failure by making it nearly impossible for them to get and stay on the path to citizenship. The bill creates extreme hurdles for young immigrants who would simultaneously be required to work or pursue a college education while at the same time barring them from the very supports that we know help low-income families and students succeed. Furthermore, the bill would exclude hundreds of thousands of young people, including many parents of U.S. citizen children, through its overly restrictive requirements. We urge Congress to focus on passing a clean legislative solution like the Dream Act of 2017 that reflects the full diversity of Dreamers and provides them with an attainable path to earn their citizenship and continue to contribute to our country.”