DACA/DREAM Frontera Fund News Trump Watch

The Next Battle: Senate Prepares to Debate the Future of DREAMers While The End of DACA is Blocked

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DREAMers lobby Congressmen and women in Capitol Hill. Photo credit: Aliento Arizona
Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

After the brief government shutdown that lasted for eight and a half hours last weekend, Congress managed to agree on a sweeping two-year budget deal that was lauded as an impressive victory for Republicans. The deal boosts military and domestic spending by $300 billion, which includes billions of dollars for infrastructure, the opioid epidemic and health programs.

But the budget deal did not include a solution for DREAMers, in spite of a filibuster-type speech by Democrat Nancy Pelosi, who related immigrant youth stories for more than eight hours, in an effort to extract a commitment from House Speaker Paul Ryan to address the DACA-DREAMers issue.

Immigrant youth are pressuring Congress to vote for a permanent status and a path to citizenship after Trump announced on September 5, 2017 the elimination of the program starting March 5, 2018. Without the DACA protections, immigrant youth who came as children illegally to the U.S. and had been approved for the program will lose their work permits and potentially be deported.

DACA-DREAMers and their allies tried to force a vote on their issue during the first and second spending bill deadlines but both times were not successful.

Additionally, Trump has put extreme conditions on his support for a DACA fix, including billions of dollars for the border wall, new limits on the family reunification program (which is being pejoratively called chain migration) and the elimination of the visa lottery. This political maneuver has been described as ransom note from a kidnapper for its intent to force extremist changes to the immigration system, plus the expensive border wall, in exchange for a solution to a program that is very popular among the majority of Americans.

Bipartisan efforts are ongoing in the Senate, but the challenge will be the House of Representatives, especially since midterm elections will take place in November.

DREAMers and their allies are ready for the showdown, and they are lobbying intensely. Immigrant youth are starting to congregate in Washington, D.C., trying to strategize the best way to achieve the 60 votes in the Senate that may get the ball rolling.

Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund supports the organization Aliento Arizona, which provided this infographic on the Senate strategy to deal with the DACA-DREAMers issue.

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UPDATE 2/13/18. 2:31 PM MT.

As all this activity happens in Washington, a second Federal Judge has decided to stop Trump- Sessions’ order to end DACA.   Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled that DACA participants and states are likely to win the case against the order to terminate DACA since the order is arbitrary and capricious.

“Defendants indisputably can end the DACA program,” Judge Garaufis wrote in his ruling. “The question before the court is thus not whether defendants (the Trump Administration) could end the DACA program, but whether they offered legally adequate reasons for doing so. Based on its review of the record before it, the court concludes that defendants have not done so.”