The House is gearing up to take action on a legislative solution for the Dreamers—undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children—and the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which has been in limbo since President Trump attempted to rescind it.
As a quick refresher, in September 2017, President Trump announced he was ending DACA, which has shielded from deportation more than 700,000 Dreamers. Federal courts blocked that move and the Supreme Court has not yet taken up the case, meaning DACA remains intact to an extent, allowing for renewals but not new registrations.
When the president revoked DACA, he called on lawmakers to pass legislation to protect Dreamers. It is clear that in Congress, and across the nation, there is widespread and bipartisan support for doing just that. Legislators briefly discussed including permanent protections for Dreamers during negotiations to end the government shutdown earlier this year, but the talks went nowhere.
The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony Wednesday from immigrants protected under both the DACA policy and the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program, along with advocates working on their behalf and others who deal with immigration issues. (The Trump administration also has attempted to phase out the TPS program, which has allowed more than 300,000 individuals from countries affected by war and natural disasters to legally live and work in the United States.) House Democrats are planning to introduce the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 next week, which will be the starting point for new negotiations.
In their opening statements at Wednesday’s hearing, Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) laid out the positions of their respective parties, familiar by now after months of back-and-forth over the Trump administration’s immigration proposals. Collins and other Republican committee members expressed tentative support for some protections for Dreamers, but only in exchange for funding for the president’s border wall and other efforts to impose strict control over immigration. Democrats have made clear they will not approve such an exchange. Read a more detailed account of the hearing here.
I issued a statement in advance of the hearing, supporting the House efforts and letting Congress know we stand ready to help in any way we can. For more on DACA and the effort to provide a legislative solution for Dreamers, see the Protect Dreamers Higher Education Coalition web page.