Local DACA recipients looking to legislators to pass 'Clean Dream Act'

Society
DACA Demonstrations Ring Hollow
By
Bob Dane

A deal in Congress to keep the government open is being threatened by a debate over immigration, specifically over protections for immigrants known as DREAMers.

Individuals who cannot meet one of these requirements can apply for a "hardship waiver" if the applicant is a person with disabilities, a full-time caregiver of a minor child, or for whom removal would cause extreme hardship to a USA citizen spouse, parent, or child. NPR's Kelsey Snell has more from Capitol Hill. Both Presidents Obama and Trump have said so. "The Democrats are really looking for something that is very risky to our country". They are looking at shutting down. Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was downplaying the threat of a shutdown.

"There is this thing that resides within the Democratic party at our worst where we try to concede something we don't believe in in hopes we're going to get something big that we really care about", O'Rourke said.

The pronouncement, which comes as lawmakers are wrangling with a major tax overhaul and negotiations for the 2018 budget, threatens to widen the divide in the Republican caucus over how and when to address the DACA question.

The demand for the legislation increased after President Donald Trump announced in October he was ending the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

"This proposal, as I have told them personally, can not be considered a good-faith effort to provide protection for the Dreamers, including those who were enrolled in DACA", said Illinois Sen. Cornyn has called for a long-term solution for the almost 800,000 DACA recipients, some of whom have started to lose their protections, but has said the fix will have to wait until after Republicans address tax and spending bills. They want a path to citizenship, and they say they're exhausted of waiting.

Most Democrats are backing the Dream Act, a bill that would offer a path to citizenship to more than a million younger illegal immigrants. Democrats don't have much leverage in Congress, but one place they do have a lot of power is over a spending bill. The end-of-year spending bill requires 60 votes in the Senate, and Republicans only hold 52 seats. Chain migration, doing something about the diversity visa lottery, there are plenty of changes to the legal immigration system that should be added to the DACA fix that we do.

Cornyn told reporters Tuesday that Congress has "a couple of months in January and February to figure this out, if [Democrats are] willing to meet us halfway and negotiate in good faith".

And that's what the new Clean Dream Act would fix.

JEREMY ROBBINS: This is not a hard policy issue. "That is why the business community, universities, and civic leaders alike support a permanent legislative solution". "I'm always a little bit concerned about what's going to happen to many of us".

Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice Education fund, an immigrants rights group, called Cornyn's proposal a "con job" filled with "nativist poison pills".

The NAE also is expected to release an interactive map of immigration stories from all 435 congressional districts and to coordinate events around the country, including statements issued in Louisiana supporting DACA, according to the NAE press release.

"When you see those pictures of people, you don't know who is or isn't a Dreamer", Jaime Scatena said as he slowly pulled a fresh portrait of a UH student from the printer lodged inside the group's truck.

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