House leaders have decided to delay until next week a vote on a compromise immigration bill, H.R. 6136, as party divisions—and commentary from President Trump—continue. The bill, which was negotiated by conservatives and moderate Republicans, would offer a renewable legal status for Dreamers and opportunities to apply for merit-based green cards for some; fund the president’s border wall; make cuts to legal immigration; and make it harder to seek asylum.
While this measure is not perfect in terms of a solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, ACE sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) encouraging the process forward and supporting efforts to find a solution for DACA.
Another bill failed to pass this week after a fracas between Speaker Ryan and members of the conservative Freedom Caucus. This conservative measure, introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), would have made deeper cuts to legal immigration and did not offer a path to citizenship for Dreamers, the group of outstanding young people brought to this country as children.
Although the process to vote on these bills progressed Thursday, it took a back seat to scenes of family separations at the border, which played out under the administration’s zero tolerance policy on detaining migrants.
ACE President Ted Mitchell sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Wednesday explaining that while ACE understood and supported her agency’s charge to protect America’s borders, inflicting emotional and psychological abuse on children must not be a part of carrying out that mission.
The executive order President Trump signed Wednesday says that families should be kept together to the best extent possible, which is only one of the obstacles to actually ending the practice. Further complicating matters, it is unclear what will happen to the approximately 2,300 children who have already been taken from their families since the administration’s policy was announced in early May.
There is widespread bipartisan support in Congress and among the public for protecting Dreamers, and ACE continues to work with both the House and Senate to advocate progress on the issue. For more information, see our Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition web page.