WASHINGTON—Today, with the support of Democratic colleagues, Representative Kirkpatrick introduced her first bill of the 116th Congress, the American Dream Employment Act, a bill that would allow DACA beneficiaries to serve on Capitol Hill. Under current law, employment in the House and Senate is limited to individuals who are U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents in the process of naturalizing. As a result, DREAMers—undocumented young people brought to this country through no fault of their own—are currently barred from working for Congressional offices. The American Dream Employment Act would amend the provision to specify DREAMers as eligible candidates for employment on Capitol Hill.
U.S. Representatives Hastings (FL), Grijalva (AZ), Bonamici (OR), Brownley (CA), Clark (MA), Gallego (AZ), Carbajal (CA), Correa (CA), O’Halleran (AZ), Soto (FL), Cisneros (CA), Garcia (TX), Mucarsel-Powell (FL), Omar (MN), Stanton (AZ) and Tlaib (MI) are all original co-sponsors of the American Dream Employment Act.
“If our Republican colleagues on the Hill could hear the heartbreaking, inspiring and resilient stories of DREAMers and work alongside them, then I believe they would understand the importance of fixing our broken immigration system. This is one step in a series of steps we need to take,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “DREAMers are Americans and they should be able to have a voice in the legislative process, which impacts their lives and communities. ”
“As the Trump Administration continues attacking hard-working DREAMers, Democrats are opening the doors of opportunity to them,” said Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva. “DREAMers are Americans. They grew up in our neighborhoods, attended our schools, and served their communities. They deserve the same opportunities as other young students—and that includes serving their country on Capitol Hill.”
“Dreamers should have the same opportunity as other qualified applicants to work in Congress,” said Rep. Bonamici. “This institution and the people it serves would benefit greatly from their perspectives and talents. I have personally seen the current work restrictions prevent talented young people from being able to work in Congressional offices, which is a great loss for our communities. I am proud to be an original co-sponsor of the American Dream Employment Act.”
“Dreamers are important members of our communities, make valuable contributions to our nation, and are integral to the fabric of who we are as a people. Dreamers should have the opportunity to share their unique perspectives by working on Capitol Hill where decisions affecting them and their communities are made every day,” said Rep. Brownley. “Dreamers represent the very best of our nation and the American Dream, and it would be wrong to deny these motivated young people the opportunity to serve the only country they have ever called home. I sincerely appreciate Congresswoman Kirkpatrick’s leadership on the bill and look forward to continuing our work together on this important legislation.”
“DREAMers are part of our community. They attend our schools, work in our towns, and as immigrants, are a critical part of the American experience,” said Rep. Clark. “They should have the opportunity to serve in government where decisions affecting their lives are made every day.”
“Dreamers – who are Americans in every respect except on paper – should have the chance to serve their communities and their country through public service. These hardworking individuals have unique abilities and perspectives and we should celebrate their contributions and give them opportunities to succeed,” said Rep. Gallego. “We would be fortunate to have Dreamers working with us on Capitol Hill and at home in our districts.”
“America offered me an opportunity as a young immigrant to this nation to work hard, raise my family, and eventually serve my country both in the military and in Congress,” said Rep. Carbajal. “We owe passionate and driven DACA recipients the chance to serve their country as well by working in the House and Senate.”
“Over the years, I have met with young, driven Arizona DREAMers who want to give back to their communities and pursue careers in public service. Unfortunately, that is not a possibility for those who want to work in Congress,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “Last Congress, I worked to remove the barriers for DACA recipients seeking paid employment in Congress, but, despite bipartisan support for these young DREAMers, my proposal was voted down on partisan lines. I am proud to stand with my colleagues to introduce this legislation in the 116th Congress, and I thank Congresswoman Kirkpatrick for leading on this issue.”
“I’m proud to support the American Dream Employment Act to allow DREAMers to work in the United States Congress,” said Rep. Cisneros. “Our country must pass comprehensive immigration reform and DREAMers should have the opportunity to bring their unique perspectives and skillsets to our nation’s legislative process. DREAMers contribute to our communities and to our economy and they deserve to have their voices heard in Washington.”
“DREAMers are a part of our rich American society, and their contributions add a new perspective to our economy, the arts, our culture, and our politics,” said Mucarsel-Powell. “While our broken immigration still needs greater commonsense reforms, it is time for DREAMers to be able to help shape the policies of the only country they’ve ever called home, and serve as employees on Capitol Hill – just like they are able to be employed by the private sector. I am proud to stand with DREAMers and co-sponsor this legislation.”
“DREAMers have shown that with the right opportunity, they will contribute in meaningful ways—to both our community and our economy,” said Rep. Greg Stanton. “I know firsthand the value and perspective that a DREAMer can bring to a team, and I can’t think of a single reason why the House and Senate would prevent these young people from working on Capitol Hill. Congress will be better for having them here.”