tags: Press Releases

Republicans Move Closer to Long Standing Wish of Ending DACA and Deporting Dreamers

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Washington, DC – The Republican Party is moving closer to its longstanding goal of ending DACA and making Dreamers once again deportable and unemployable. President Obama and then-Vice President Biden, responding to public support and sustained GOP obstruction, took action in 2012 to put DACA recipients in a safe place and Republicans have consistently tried to eliminate that safety ever since. 

For more than a decade, Republicans have fought to block legislative solutions that would allow longtime U.S. residents who arrived as children to earn permanent legal status. Spearheaded by embattled Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton, Republicans have skillfully utilized courts, packed with conservative judges, often Trump appointees, to attack the legal underpinnings of DACA, contrary to the will of the American people who deeply and enduringly support citizenship for Dreamers. 

Yesterday’s 5th Circuit ruling found DACA unlawful, but sent the case back to the lower court instead of killing it outright at this moment. For now, thankfully, those with DACA can retain and renew their status. But there should be no mistaking the implications of yesterday’s ruling and the larger context and motivations of the Republican Party that has sought to undermine and end DACA for a decade.

  • In courts, the GOP has been trying to end DACA, with yesterday’s ruling in the 5th circuit based on a challenge brought by the State of Texas and several other Republican-controlled states. America’s Voice has been describing this exact scenario as the anti-immigrant judicial pipeline. “The pipeline flows from Republican Attorneys General to hand-picked United States District Court Judges (usually Trump appointees in Texas), to the conservative Fifth Circuit and finally, to the United States Supreme Court.”
  • In Congress, the GOP continues to block legislation to make Dreamers full citizens, as they have done for more than a decade, having blocked Dreamer legislation that passed the Senate in 2006, the House in 2010 and 2020 and the Senate in 2013. Even the small contingent of supposedly pro-Dreamer Republicans have tied their support to an ever moveable goal post and impossible precondition under the banner of “border security first.”
  • And on the campaign trail, Republicans’ midterm homestretch message is centered on dark, dangerous immigrants coming to get Americans and louder, shriller dog whistles on crime and safety. Hundreds of ads and millions of GOP dollars are being spent portraying immigrants and asylum seekers as dangerous “invaders” seeking to “replace” white Americans. It’s part of the GOP’s increasing embrace of nativist politics and nationalist rhetoric, despite the demonstrable links to acts of violence, including the murder of an immigrant just last week in Texas. Instead of policy solutions and acknowledgement of the tremendous success and popularity of DACA, Republicans remain committed to demonizing immigrants and making solutions less achievable. Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican leaders have promised to block any attempts to legalize the status of any immigrants should they gain control of one or both houses of Congress. 

More than 70% of Americans across parties and ideologies support Dreamers’ protections and legal status. And if Republicans get their way and end DACA, it will not just be devastating for Dreamers and affected families, but undermine America’s economy. The end of DACA would mean the end of work permits for tens of thousands of Dreamers at a time when there are more than 340,000 “essential” workers with DACA across the country, including 15,000 K-12 teachers during a time of severe teacher shortages.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director of America’s Voice: 

“For decades now, Republicans have blocked any mechanism in Congress for immigrants to gain legal status, took steps to make legal immigration more difficult and have obstructed any attempt of the Executive Branch to protect Dreamers from deportation. 

Whatever Republicans might say now to soften their position, it is clear that even the longest standing and most deeply rooted members of society who are contributing, raising families, and driving our society forward are unwanted by Republicans and targets for deportation. 

For the dwindling numbers within the Republican Party who profess to support Dreamers we need action, not words and absolutely no more border-first excuses. Listen to the strong majority of Americans, including many Republican voters, and find a way to deliver for Dreamers and the nation before the year is out.”