The Trump administration’s decision to eradicate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is fueling a race in Congress between supporters and opponents of the vanquished act.
According to The Hill, politicians on both sides of the debate are quickly moving to maneuver whatever leverage they’ve available, which highlights the difficulty politicians will likely have in reaching a compromise.
When President Trump cast away DACA last week, he passed the torch of responsibility for the program’s nearly one million participants to Congress.
Although DACA recipients – frequently referred to as ‘Dreamers’ – remain protected until their two-year residency and work permits expire, many worry about how their future may be decided by Congress.
The president offered the legislature a six-month deadline to come up with a proper and thorough solution to protect DACA. Somewhat predictably, splits in the Republican Party have already ruptured – some congressmen and women had condemned the revocation of DACA, while others felt the program should never have been allowed to proceed in the first place.
Among the main difficulties highlighted by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is creating an immigration bill which would protect Dreamers while also addressing current problems in the immigration system.
“If we just rubber-stamp a stand-alone DREAM Act, then we’re going to have another DREAM Act that we’re going to need 10 years from now,” Ryan told FOX News Radio.
The DREAM Act that Ryan referred to is similar to DACA.
While DACA offers a path to legally work and reside in the United States to young adults who were brought to America illegally as children, the DREAM Act would have removed the threat of deportation from their lives entirely.
Democrats, on the contrary, have been pushing for a stand-alone substitute for the DREAM Act.
Ryan tried to rebut the left’s efforts by saying that Congress needs to address the ‘cause and effect’ of illegal immigration before moving to protect the some 800,000 young people who were once protected by DACA.
Further complicating the matter are rumors and light insistence from the administration that Dreamers should be protected from deportation, albeit only in exchange for congressional funding for an improved border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The suggestion that Dreamers be protected in exchange for enhanced border security has been denounced by many Democrats – some have called the proposal a form of ‘blackmail.’
To counter Republican influence and indecision, some Democrats have threatened to attach DACA-like protections to ‘must-pass legislation.’
Others, like Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois (D), have threatened more drastic measures to ensure protection for Dreamers.
Last week, Gutierrez threatened measures to shut down the federal government in December if a deal to shield Dreamers from deportation can’t be reached.