Provide ‘Dreamers’ with the permanent protections they need
Lawmakers must keep advocating for proposed legislative solutions that place DACA recipients on the pathway to U.S. citizenship.
More than 600,000 “Dreamers” were breathing a little easier on Wednesday when the Biden administration finalized a rule to turn the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program into federal regulation. It’s a move intended to protect the immigration policy that Republicans have been challenging for a decade.
We recognize the long-awaited good this effort does to secure and strengthen the policy that allows undocumented individuals who were brought to the U.S. as children to live and work in the country legally. But let’s not forget the 2012 DACA program was meant to be a temporary fix to shield these young adults from deportation.
Pro-immigration lawmakers must keep advocating for Republicans to support proposed legislative solutions — such as the already-House-passed American Dream and Promise Act — that place DACA recipients on the pathway to U.S. citizenship.
“I will do everything within my power to protect Dreamers, but congressional Republicans should stop blocking a bill that provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “It is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do for our economy and our communities.”
The DREAM Act has evolved throughout the years since 2001, with each version unable to achieve the votes needed for full passage. As a result, DACA was introduced under the Obama administration for applicants who can prove they arrived in the U.S. by age 16 and before June 2007; studied in a U.S. school or served in the military; and have no serious criminal record.
The program has helped “Dreamers” thrive in the U.S., but not without legal challenges. Last year, more than 80,000 first-time applicants who hoped to gain legal protections through DACA were blocked from doing so by a federal judge in Texas.
When the new DACA rule takes effect on Oct. 31, the Department of Homeland Security will still not be able to grant first-time requests, leaving thousands from accessing the policy’s protections.
The news of a stronger DACA is sure to reinvigorate Republican attempts to terminate the program. Democrats must take their deportation protection efforts a step further and provide “Dreamers” with the permanent protections they need.
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