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Sens. Rand Paul (left) and Alex Padilla. Photos: Greg Nash-Pool (left) and Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday introduced a bill that seeks to provide a pathway to citizenship for the country's 200,000 "Documented Dreamers."

Why it matters: Documented Dreamers are children of long-term visa holders who often wait years for a green card and face deportation if they don't receive legal immigration status after turning 21, when they lose dependent status.

  • They come to the U.S. as dependents of long-term nonimmigrant visa holders, including H-1B, L-1, E-1 and E2 workers. Backlogs mean they often have to wait for a green card or other forms of immigration status for years or even decades.
  • Most are Asian American, according to Dip Patel, a Documented Dreamer and the president of the immigration advocacy group Improve the Dream. Roughly 70% emigrate from India, Patel said.

Details: Padilla and Paul's legislation, called the America's Children Act, would provide a pathway to permanent residency and establish age-out protections that lock in a child's age on the date they file for a green card rather than the final action date.

  • It would also provide work authorization for Documented Dreamers 16 years and older while their green card applications are pending.
  • "These children who have legally called the United States home for many years and even decades ... shouldn’t be penalized by the government’s failures in addressing green card backlogs," Paul said in a statement.
  • "We cannot turn our backs on the ‘Documented Dreamers’ who have spent most of their lives in this country, contributing to their communities and our economy," Padilla added.
  • Reps. Deborah Ross (D-N.C.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Young Kim (R-Calif.) introduced a House version of the bill in July.

What they're saying: "People don't realize that this is happening, that thousands of people who have been ... brought here at a young age, raised and educated here on visas with a legal status are having to leave the country," Patel told Axios ahead of the bill's introduction.

  • He was 9 when he and his parents came to the U.S. from India to open a small convenience store in Illinois.
  • "Over 200,000 Documented Dreamers who had felt hopeless now have hope for being recognized as something we have long felt: Americans," he said in a statement Wednesday. "We are America's Children and this bill will recognize us as such."

Go deeper

Mapped: Afghan refugees headed to 46 states

Expand chart
Data: White House; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

The Biden administration notified governors and mayors on Wednesday of the number of Afghan evacuees their state is expected to receive in the coming weeks, two senior administration officials told Axios.

Why it matters: Although their exact immigration pathway is still unclear, an initial group of 37,000 Afghans will soon be headed to states across the country after many faced harrowing journeys from Afghanistan.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Reports: Up to 17 U.S. missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince earlier this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children were among up to 17 American Christian missionaries and their relatives kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, the New York Times first reported.

Details: The missionaries had just left an orphanage and were traveling by bus to the airport to "drop off some members" and were due to travel to another destination when the gang struck in Port-au-Prince, Haitian security officials said, per the NYT.

5 hours ago - World

Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews during a news conference in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Melbourne's stay-at-home orders will end five days earlier than planned, officials in Australia's second-biggest city announced Sunday.

Why it matters: The capital of the state of Victoria has had six lockdowns totaling 262 days since March last year. That means Melbourne spent longer under lockdown than "any other city in the world" during the pandemic, Reuters notes.