Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) and U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety, led a bipartisan group of 43 lawmakers in calling on the Biden administration to take urgent action to protect the more than 250,000 Documented Dreamers — children of long-term visa holders — who are at risk of aging out of their dependent status and are forced to self-deport if they are ineligible for another status.

Despite growing up in the United States with legal status, children of long-term visa holders age out of their dependent status when they turn 21 and are often left with no choice but to leave the United States if they cannot transition to a new status. This is because, in part, their families’ adjustment of status applications face extensive backlogs, preventing them from securing permanent resident status.

The letter follows Padilla and Ross’ previous bipartisan legislative push to protect over 250,000 Documented Dreamers through the America’s CHILDREN Act.

“These young people grow up in the United States, complete their education in the American school system, and graduate with degrees from American institutions,” wrote the lawmakers. “However, due to the long green-card backlog, families with approved immigrant petitions are often stuck waiting decades for permanent resident status.”

“While we continue to pursue legislative solutions to permanently protect these individuals, such as the bipartisan and bicameral America’s Children Act of 2023, we urge you to take administrative action to protect the thousands of children who may be forced to self-deport each year,” continued the lawmakers.

Specifically, the lawmakers made three recommendations to help address the ongoing threats Documented Dreamers face.

1. Clarify the use of deferred action on a case-by-case basis, where discretion is warranted, for children of long-term visa holders who age out of status.

2. Expand eligibility for Employment Authorization to child dependents of visa holders and those with approved I-140 petitions.

3. Create a process to allow long-term visa holders who age out to seek parole, on a case-by-case basis, if warranted for urgent humanitarian reasons or to advance a significant public benefit.

In addition to Senator Padilla and Representative Ross, the letter was also signed by Senate Majority Whip and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Representatives Ami Bera (D-Calif.-06), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.-01), André Carson (D-Ind.-07), Judy Chu (D-Calif.-28), Jim Costa (D-Calif.-21), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.-10), Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.-06), Veronica Escobar (D-Texas-16), Daniel Goldman (D-N.Y.-10), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.-07), Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.-06), Jonathan Jackson (D-Ill.-01), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.-04), Young Kim (R-Calif.-40), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.-08), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.-12), Mike Levin (D-Calif.-49), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.-18), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa-01), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.-12), Joe Neguse (D-Colo.-02), Eleanor Norton (D-D.C.-AL), Scott Peters (D-Calif.-50), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.-05), Delia C. Ramirez (D-Ill.-03), Maria Salazar (R-Fla.-27), Marilyn Strickland (D-Wash.-10), Juan Vargas (D-Calif.-52), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.-25).

Last year, Ross and Padilla held a press conference alongside Documented Dreamers to push for their bipartisan legislation to protect these young immigrants after they age out of their protected status.

Full text of the letter is available here.