Alex Daugherty at the Miami Herald reports that yesterday, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus revealed legislation that will grant Dreamers, TPS and DED holders paths to citizenship in a combined bill. Unveiled before a Congressional hearing for the House Committee on the Judiciary, the bill be a much needed reprieve for hard-working immigrants, most of whom have lived here for decades.
While the lives of millions of immigrants hang in limbo as a result of the Trump administration’s termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Congress must take responsibility and act to protect families from possible forced deportation and separation.
The article is excerpted below and available online here.
For years, Republicans in the House of Representatives effectively blocked any bill that expanded immigration.
But now that Democrats are the majority in the lower chamber, they’re aiming to put pressure on the Republican-controlled Senate to act.
A group of Hispanic Caucus members unveiled legislation Wednesday that ties a pathway to citizenship for so-called Dreamers — young immigrants who entered the country without authorization as children — and Temporary Protected Status holders together. About half of Dreamers were protected from deportation by a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, while TPS holders from El Salvador, Honduras, Sudan and Haiti recently received an extension, allowing them to live and work legally in the U.S. until January 2020.
The Trump administration has tried to end both programs, though their future is tied up in the courts. Democrats say tying Dreamers and TPS recipients together in the same bill, along with a program called Deferred Enforced Departure, or DED, that currently gives immigrants from Liberia legal status, provides the best chance of passage.
… South Florida is home to thousands of TPS recipients from Haiti, and lawmakers from both parties are pushing to expand the program to Venezuelans, given the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The House Judiciary Committee, a body that includes South Florida Democratic Reps. Ted Deutch and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, held a hearing on the bill Wednesday, the first official step to get legislation passed.
But House Republicans are not supportive of the legislative effort on TPS and DACA.
… Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck said the DACA-TPS bill is not a serious policy proposal by Democrats and criticized them for inviting DACA recipients and TPS holders to testify before Congress.
“Today’s witnesses are pawns in a tragic open border strategy being pushed by the left,” Buck said. “The American people are compassionate but they are frustrated.”
Lujan said there’s “broad support” for a pathway to citizenship for DACA, TPS and DED recipients, and that tying the three together does not hinder the chances of passage.
“There’s broad support for both initiatives as well,” he said. “The urgency of being able to get these pieces of legislation adopted, and not leaving out either group, is going to be critically important in getting this done.”
But Trump’s opposition to any bill that provides a path to citizenship for immigrants without significant concessions for his border wall and potential constraints on legal immigration is the major obstacle. He recently declared a national emergency at the border as he seeks to direct about $5 billion of money allocated to the Department of Defense to partially fund a wall, a move that has irked Democrats and some Republicans.
New York Rep. Nydia Velazquez, the sponsor of the combined TPS-DACA-DED legislation, argued that the results of the 2018 election will force Trump to negotiate with Democrats.
“Mr. President, there is a new game in town with a Democratic majority,” she said.