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March 07, 2023

Rep. Aguilar Pushes to Allow Dreamers to Work in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) and Rep. Greg Stanton (D-AZ) introduced the American Dream Employment Act, which would lift the current ban on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients from working on Capitol Hill. Under current law, employment in the House of Representatives and Senate is only available to those who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents with the intent of naturalizing. As a result, Dreamers—undocumented young people brought to this country through no fault of their own—are barred from obtaining any paid positions in Congressional offices.

“DACA recipients have been raised and educated in this country,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar. “These young men and women serve in uniform, teach in schools, start businesses and contribute to the fabric of our communities in every conceivable way. They deserve the same opportunities as other young people, including serving their country in the federal government.”

“DACA recipients serve our country in the military, they serve their communities as teachers and medical professionals, and they contribute to our economy. Yet mean-spirited rules still prohibit these bright, intelligent young people from serving the public on Capitol Hill,” said Rep. Greg Stanton. “I’m proud to help introduce this legislation to give Dreamers the opportunity to shape policies that affect the only country they’ve ever called home.”

“The Dreamer Congressional Staff Association (DCSA) is an official, non-partisan staff organization committed to empowering current and former Dreamers on Capitol Hill. We are happy to see Rep. Aguilar and Rep. Stanton introduce the American Dream Employment Act which would allow DACA and TPS recipients to work in paid opportunities on the Hill, allowing them to use their experiences and skillsets to serve the American people,” said the Dreamer Congressional Staff Association.

Rep. Aguilar has been a devoted champion for immigration reform throughout his time in Congress. In the 117th Congress, Aguilar led a letter to the House Appropriations Committee pushing for legislation to expand federal employment requirements to include individuals with DACA status. In the 116th Congress, the House of Representatives passed legislation containing language offered by Aguilar that would allow individuals with DACA status to become eligible for federal employment. In the 115th Congress, he led a bipartisan effort to force a vote on legislation to provide a permanent path to citizenship for Dreamers.

This bill is supported by CASA, Centro Del Inmigrante, Church World Service,, Immigration Hub, Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice, Interfaith Welcome Coalition – San Antonio, Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, San Bernardino Community Service Center, The Immigration Law Offices of Hadley Bajramovic, TODEC Legal Center and UnidosUS.

Rep. Aguilar serves as Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and as a member of the House Committee on Appropriations.