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Congress Should Reflect Mainstream Public Consensus, Do Its Job, and Pass the Dream Act

 

While hive of activity surrounding legislation for Dreamers is a good development, Republican leaders must take action, not just make motion

Enacting a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers is the mainstream consensus position, reflecting support from America’s businesses, universities, religious leaderscelebritieslegislators of both parties – and the electorate.  With a pressing October 5th deadline facing a quarter of DACA beneficiaries, legislative action on Dream is increasingly urgent.

New Politico/Morning Consult polling, fielded after the President Trump’s announcement to end DACA, finds that a combined 73% of Americans back either citizenship (54%) or legalization (19%) for Dreamers, while only 12% of the public supports deporting Dreamers. Even Republicans back legislation for Dreamers to stay, rather than be deported, 70% to 20%. As Morning Consult co-founder and chief research officer Kyle Dropp noted, “Not only do a majority, 73 percent, of voters want legislation protecting Dreamers from deportation, a majority want Congress to make that a priority … 65 percent of voters say protecting Dreamers should be either an important or top priority for Congress.”

Meanwhile, there’s a flurry of activity on and off Capitol Hill. This morning, Church World Service held an event at the House Triangle during which faith leaders performed a ceremonial foot washing of Dreamers to highlight the need for a clean Dream Act. President Trump is meeting with House moderates of both parties, with Dreamer legislation expected to be one of the major topics discussed. House Speaker Ryan and Minority Leader Pelosi are meeting this afternoon to discuss legislative action on Dream. And tonightper the New York Times, Democratic leaders Schumer and Pelosi will dine with President Trump, with the Dream Act reported to be a major focus. Simultaneously, various legislative scenarios and vehicles are being introduced, discussed, and refined on Capitol Hill.

According to Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

Clearly, the Dream Act is on the minds and lips of our Members of Congress, but the real test is when and how it is brought for a vote.  The prospects for a solution are real; the support from across America is tangible, and the need to pass it is urgent.  It’s going to take real leadership from Republicans and Democrats to move it over the finish line.

Unfortunately this week, instead of using floor time to vote on the Dream Act, House Republicans are taking up a very different type of bill regarding immigrant youthTomorrow, the full House is likely to vote on the Criminal Alien Gang Member Removal Act – legislation that is the latest Republican effort to malign immigrants as “dangerous criminals” in order to justify more deportations and detentions and less due process and access to justice.

Concluded Tramonte:

The only immigration-related bill Congress should be teeing up is the bipartisan, bicameral Dream Act, which is now an emergency piece of legislation. President Trump manufactured a crisis by ending DACA, and young people’s lives are on the line. The Dream Act is teed up and ready to go. It would make it possible for young people who grew up as Americans to get on a path to citizenship, continue to plan their lives and live their dreams. It has bipartisan support among the American people and in Congress – a rare quality these days. If the President is serious about wanting a solution to his man-made DACA crisis, he can push Republicans in the House and Senate to bring a clean version of Dream up for a vote, ASAP.