CHN: Despite Bipartisan Support, DACA Deal Still in Limbo

Members of Congress and President Trump still have yet to agree upon a legislative solution for Dreamers, months after the President announced in September that he was rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. At the time, the President gave Congress until March 5 to come up with a legislative solution for the nearly 800,000 young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who currently benefit from DACA. Advocates rallied in Washington, D.C. and across the country last week for a fix for the 122 Dreamers who are being discontinued from DACA each day – more than 10,000 so far. Advocates have been pushing to attach a DACA fix to the stopgap spending bill that will need to be passed later this month to fund the government into the next year. There is bipartisan support for passing a DACA fix this year – on Dec. 5, more than 30 Republican members of the House sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in support of passing DACA legislation before the end of the year, and two Florida Republicans, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Carlos Curbelo, have said they will not vote for spending bills later this month unless the legislation includes language to protect Dreamers. Not all are on board, however; Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) reportedly said there was “no way” a year-end spending bill would include DACA language. Both advocates and Congressional Democrats are very firm in seeking permanent legal status such as the Dream Act for those who would qualify for DACA before Congress leaves for the holidays to prevent further damage to DACA recipients and their families. President Trump has repeatedly said he wants any immigration deal to include increased funding for border security, including a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as ending “chain migration” in which immigrants with legal status can petition to bring relatives to the U.S. Other proposals from the GOP may include codifying DACA for current recipients but not for all eligible recipients, and not providing a path to citizenship. If the Republicans who signed the letter calling for legal status for the Dreamers are added to most Democrats, there are the votes to protect the Dreamers before the holidays, most likely in the Senate as well as the House, if the leadership will allow it to be taken up.

Advocates are also pushing for the Trump administration to continue or reinstate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for 320,000 immigrants in the U.S. who have fled violence and/or natural disasters, many of whom have lived in the U.S. for decades and have U.S. citizen children. On Nov. 6, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation extended to 2,500 Nicaraguans will be terminated on Jan. 5, 2019. For more on TPS, see the November 13 Human Needs Report and UnidosUS.

In other immigration news, the Supreme Court on Dec. 4 announced that the third version of President Trump’s travel ban can be fully implemented while lawsuits opposing the policy are continuing. The ban, issued by President Trump in September limits visas for entry into the U.S. by citizens of eight countries, six of which are majority Muslim. Karen Tumlin, legal director of the National Immigration Law Center, said in a statement, “Any form of the Muslim ban is an attack on the values we aspire to as a nation, and we will continue to stand with community leaders and all those affected to ensure that such hateful and divisive policies have no home here.”

Dream Act
Muslim ban