Rallying for the Dreamers


March 5, 2018

Dreamers and their advocates gathered Monday in at least a dozen communities throughout the U.S. as a Trump-imposed six-month deadline for resolving their immigration status came and went with no action from Congress.

This teacher showed up at a Dreamer rally in Washington, D.C., to protest the fact that Dennis, a student of his, is being held by immigration authorities.

In Washington, D.C., advocates flooded Capitol Hill to pressure lawmakers to reach a deal – and it was by no means the first time.  “There’s probably a couple thousand of Dreamers coming to D.C. every week,” Dreamer Susana Nava told The Hill newspaper.  “Having that connection has really helped us get that connection for them to realize that we’re somebody.”

In September, President Trump announced his administration was phasing out DACA, giving Congress until March 5 to reach a legislative solution.  Since then, however, appellate courts in California and New York have ruled that the Trump administration wrongly ended the DACA program and blocked the administration from ending the program if legal challenges remain unresolved; for now, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to intervene.

As hundreds of thousands of Dreamers worry about their livelihoods, homes and futures, Trump and Republicans in Congress have held them hostage to increased enforcement and deportation funding and restrictions in family reunification and other forms of immigration.  Despite the fact that support for a fix for the Dreamers is overwhelming among Americans across ideological lines, by entangling their protection with these other toxic proposals, President Trump and his allies in Congress have ground progress to a halt.  Trump’s January call for “a bill of love” to provide legal status for the Dreamers so far is one more abandoned promise.

And thus far, media reports suggest that imminent action from Congress is not forthcoming.  Per CNN:

“March 23 is the next government funding deadline, and some lawmakers have suggested they may try to use the must-pass package of funding bills as a point of leverage.  But sources close to the process say it’s more likely that efforts will be made to keep a bad deal out of the omnibus spending measure than to come up with a compromise to attach to it, as no solution has a clear path to passing either chamber and the House Republican leadership has opposed attaching any immigration matter to a spending deal.”

In my colleague Lecia’s latest Human Needs Report, she notes that the Senate already has considered a number of immigration proposals, but none secured the 60 votes needed for passage.  She further notes that DACA recipients can continue to renew their protected status beyond the March 5 deadline that Trump previously had specified, but no new DACA applications will be accepted.

Meanwhile, state and national groups are being urged to sign onto a letter to Congressional leadership opposing immigration enforcement that targets youth and long-time residents as well as funding for the proposed wall. The deadline for signatures is the close of business Monday.