Finding a Permanent DACA Solution
(Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen. Wikipedia)
With the year coming to a close and the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) looming, lawmakers are scrambling to find a permanent solution to the uncertain future of about 800,000 young immigrants who came to the country as children without immigration documentation or inspection.
It may be recalled that last September 5, President Donald Trump signaled an “orderly phasing out” of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that was signed by his predecessor Barack Obama. After that, the DHS immediately announced that it “will provide a limited, six-month window during which it will consider certain requests for DACA and applications for work authorization, under specific parameters.” The DHS gave DACA recipients until Oct. 5, 2017 to renew their applications but unfortunately, about 22,000 individuals were not able to renew their status. With March 2018 just three months away, lawmakers are feeling the pressure to come up with a solution after Trump gave them the ball to come up with a permanent solution.
Recently, 34 Republican lawmakers signed a letter urging Speaker Paul Ryan to act immediately on the matter before the end of the year. The letter was led by Scott Taylor (R-VA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and Jeff Denham (R-CA) and members of the Republican Main Street Caucus.
The letter highlighted that these young immigrants were brought to the US through no fault of their own but they became contributing members of the community. “They are American in every way except in immigration status,” states the letter.
“We agree with President Trump that executive action was not the appropriate process for solving this issue, as was done under the previous administration, and we believe Congress should act. Not acting is creating understandable uncertainty and anxiety amongst immigrant communities,” states the letter.
The letter came after Ryan said last week that there are other more pressing issues than DACA like fiscal year and appropriation deadlines. “The deadline is March, as far as I understand it,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said on Nov. 30 at a press conference.
Republican Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), also told reporters that immigration talks can wait until next year. “We are certainly willing to enter into those negotiations, but they do not belong in an end-of-the-year spending appropriations debate,” Cornyn said. “We do want to resolve DACA, but it’s not going to be before the end of this year.”
As a response, House Democrats have said they won’t support a critical spending bill this month needed to keep the government open unless the DACA issue is resolved. Democratic votes for any budget bill are crucial in the Senate and the Democrats are using this leverage to push for a DACA solution. This is currently creating tension in Congress as some leaders talk of possible government shutdown if budget measures will not be approved in time for Congress’ Christmas break.
Rep Rodney Davis (R-IL), Chairman of the Republican Main Street Caucus said that the letter shows many Republicans are serious about finding a permanent solution to solving DACA. “We want to work with leadership to craft a solution that will pass, not play political games or hold government funding hostage,” said Davis.