Make Them Hear You! is a weekly feature on KGNU, produced by Chris Mohr, letting listeners know how they can have their voices heard on issues up before Congress. You can hear it Wednesday mornings at 8.20am during the Morning Magazine.
DACA protections are still about to expire for children who arrived here with their parents when they were children.
Democrats want legalization, with a path to citizenship, for DREAMers. Republicans haven’t decided what they want. McConnell just promised to hold a vote on a bill to deal with DACA. But he didn’t specify which bill. Bills already exist to address the problem, worked out by bipartisan legislators.
In the Senate, the plan by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL), among others, offers legal status (and eventual citizenship) to young unauthorized immigrants who meet certain criteria, whether they currently have DACA or not, and allows their parents to apply for three-year renewable work permits (while preventing parental citizenship through their children). The plan gives a year’s worth of funding for the border “wall” and eliminates the diversity visa lottery.
In the House, a narrower plan, focused on border security and DREAMers, has been introduced by Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX). That bill would allow DREAMers to get a potentially quicker path to citizenship (with no accommodations for their parents). Supporters maintain that if the bills actually went to the floor, in an up-or-down vote, they’d get majorities in both houses. But even if McConnell brings one or both of these bills, Paul Ryan, in the House, hasn’t made any promise to do the same.
A very conservative proposal offered by Repub. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) offers legal status to anyone whose DACA permit is current as of the day the bill is signed — fewer than the 690,000 immigrants who had DACA when the Trump administration started winding down the program with no real path to citizenship. It would make it a federal crime to be in the US without papers, turn millions of immigrants out of work (by forcing employers to electronically check the status of all workers), and could force local jails to report immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It would tighten asylum law.
Many Republicans who want to expand skill-based immigration might balk at such a drastic proposal. Congress could wait for The Four Tops — Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX), Minority Whip Durbin, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) — to finish their negotiations and see what kind of deal emerges from that.
Trump wants something he can call a “wall”, while his Department of Homeland Security couldn’t care less about that. Democrats want a clean DACA bill.
Trump and the Republicans haven’t committed to supporting a bill that would allow DREAMers to qualify for citizenship. Congress has tried to overhaul immigration before. It’s been unable to do it over two years. It just gave itself three weeks. If you have an opinion on a clean DACA bill, you can contact your Senators and Congressperson and share your concerns.