A HuffPost story from Matt Fuller and Elise Foley reports that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has told conservative House Republicans to expect that a legislative fix for Dreamers will be included in an end-of-the-year spending package.
The following is a reaction to this report from Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:
If the reports from fellow Republicans are accurate, Speaker Ryan’s admission that action on Dreamer relief will happen as part of a spending bill by year’s end is a recognition of current reality: relief for Dreamers is urgently needed; there is broad bipartisan support for legislation in Congress and across the country; if Republicans cannot move legislation through ‘regular order,’ then attaching legislation to a must-pass spending bill is the way to get this done.
Let’s review where we are:
- Nothing can stop the harm that will come to hundreds of thousands of additional Dreamers unless Congress enacts legislation such as the Dream Act. DACA already is dead. 22,000 DACA recipients have already missed the unfair and arbitrary renewal deadline of October 5th and will be losing their jobs, educational opportunities, and protections from deportation in the coming days and weeks. Meanwhile, no new DACA applications are being accepted. Legislative action is needed now.
- If brought to the Senate and House floor for a vote, the bipartisan Dream Act would be approved. There is broad, bipartisan support for the Dream Act, or something like it, in the Congress. The vast majority of Americans from across the country and across the political spectrum support the Dream Act. The only thing missing is the opportunity to vote for it on the Senate and House floor. Since Republican leaders McConnell and Ryan seem unwilling to do so –presumably because of some opposition from within their chambers – the best way forward is to attach the Dream Act to a must-pass spending bill.
- It’s up to Congress now, and the best chance to enact legislation is before the end of the year. Congress simply cannot go home for the holidays without resolving the crisis created by the White House. If a few weeks ago it seemed that the President might deal with this issue in direct negotiations with Democratic leadership, that prospect was swept away when Stephen Miller, Trump’s nativist sidekick, attempted to derail legislation by issuing a list of poison pills. Plus, the White House is too busy taking on war widows, NFL players and fellow Republicans to step up. It’s up to Congress to act, and it is imperative that Congress attach the Dream Act to a must-pass spending bill. We don’t have a preference, just a demand. If the Dream Act is not attached to disaster relief measures, then, as the HuffPost report suggests, an “omnibus” spending bill could be the most viable vehicle.
The moment of truth is upon us. The support is there, the urgency is now, the legislative window is open, and the responsibility is clear. Congress must pass the Dream Act by the end of the year. History will not forgive delay, inaction, or excuses.