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DACA deal draws tentative support from advocacy groups that back Dreamers

December 6, 2022, 10:49 am

Editor’s note: On Dec. 15, a deal to protect Dreamers reportedly stalled out again during the remaining days of the lame-duck session.

U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are reportedly on the verge of crafting a DACA deal in what remains of the current lame-duck session that would provide deportation protections for hundreds of thousands of Dreamers.

In Colorado, there are more than 14,000 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients working and studying (a condition of the program) in the state but facing deportation if the courts, as expected, overturn the 2012 order by former President Barack Obama.

Kyrsten Sinema

That order allows certain children of undocumented immigrants – brought to the country at a very young age – to register with the federal government in order to legally work and study in the United States. Many Dreamers now have children of their own who were born in this country. Deporting Dreamers is seen as a looming humanitarian crisis.

Tillis and Sinema must find nine more Senate Republicans willing to back their bill, which would include major new funding for border security and resources for speeding up the overburdened asylum system. It reportedly retains some holdover Trump administration immigration policies that are unpopular on the left.

The office of Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet recently told RealVail.com that a DACA solution is one of the top priorities for the senator before the end of the year. For years, local Dreamers have been advocating for a solution, even as DACA recipients worked essential frontline jobs during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even conservative polling shows most Americans support protections for Dreamers, who were brought to the country at a very young age and in most cases have never been back to their country of origin.

Biden administration press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday, according to CNN, that “the President has repeatedly called on Congress to permanently protect Dreamers, farmworkers, essential workers, and others and to provide them with a pathway to citizenship. We are committed to working with members of Congress of both parties on real solutions to modernize our outdated immigration systems.”

FWD.us, a bipartisan political lobbying group funded primarily by the tech industry to push for policy fixes for “our broken immigration and criminal justice systems have locked too many people out of the American dream,” issued the following statement from its president, Todd Schulte:

“FWD.us is encouraged by the reported bipartisan talks and progress indicating Senators Sinema (D-AZ) and Tillis (R-NC) have a potential framework for compromise legislation that would provide a pathway to citizenship for approximately two million Dreamers, along with investments in border security. 

“DACA is under urgent, existential threat and will likely be terminated by the courts in the near future. The average DACA recipient came to the United States at the age of six and has lived in America for nearly a quarter century. There are approximately 600,000 active DACA recipients and over 400,000 people eligible for DACA but who are currently blocked by a court order. 

“All legislation is a compromise, and while we have not seen the full outlines let alone legislative text, this is the case here. As an organization that believes all undocumented immigrants—TPS holders, farmworkers, parents, essential workers and more—deserve a pathway to citizenship, we want to note that this framework currently does not provide needed relief to many. 

“There are other parts of this reported framework that are concerning. It is important that while this process moves forward, any legislation maintains the right to apply for asylum on U.S. soil and that all asylum seekers maintain access to due process. 

“The reported news is the contours of a compromise. It is critical that this process continue to move ahead. We know that those who want to see Dreamers forced out their jobs and subjected to deportation will try to kill any relief. People should be very clear: if Congress fails to pass legislation during the lame duck period, the consequences will be devastating. We commend these Senators for understanding that this is likely their last, best chance to stave off this devastation and take a critical step forward.”

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