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Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, assessing the state of play and the two week sprint to pass legislation for Dreamers before the holidays:
The GOP leadership in the House and Senate attempts to use reassuring doublespeak when it comes to helping Dreamers: there is no urgency; just wait; we’ll fix it next year with a standalone bill through regular order.
Let’s keep it real: when the GOP leadership says “we’ll fix DACA next year,” they mean never. There is no way Speaker Ryan will be able to construct a bill that would get a majority of the Republican majority, plus enough Democrats. If he pleases most Republicans, he loses all Democrats. And there are not enough Republicans to pass it along party lines. The math is unforgiving. The only way to pass any immigration reform bill in the House is one that attracts most Democrats and some Republicans. And since Speaker Ryan will never bring up such a standalone bill or get it there through regular order, the only way to enact the Dream Act or something close to it is to include it on must-pass legislation that requires bipartisan cooperation.
The fact is, it’s now or never. Any Member of Congress who says they stand with Dreamers has two weeks to prove it — by insisting that a legislative fix be passed before Congress goes home for the holidays.
Voting for an end-of-the-year spending bill that does not include a resolution for Dreamers is a vote to deport Dreamers. DACA recipients have and will continue to lose status and protections, exposing them to deportation, and the spending bill funds ramped-up enforcement, which under Trump is being carried out with no regard to priorities.
While Republicans in Congress may be divided, the American public is not. Poll after poll reminds us that Americans, including Republicans, strongly back efforts to keep Dreamers here in America. It’s time for Congress to act. No member of Congress should go down in history as someone who voted for the deportation of Dreamers.