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The GOP’s Cynical and Vicious Circle on Immigration Keeps Dreamers in Limbo

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Fearmonger at the Border; Challenge DACA in the Courts; Cite Border Security Excuse to Justify Obstruction in Congress

Washington, DC – A Dallas News story by Todd Gillman highlights the tenuous future of the popular and successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program due to Republican-led legal challenges. Yet, as the story makes clear, Republicans and their allies are citing the current focus and fears over the border as an excuse against a permanent legislative fix to protect Dreamers. It’s part of a vicious GOP circle.

For well over a decade, Republicans have relied on the “border security first” excuse to try and justify inaction on legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for Dreamers and other long-settled undocumented immigrants. These efforts are now in overdrive, as the GOP’s fearmongering and falsehoods around the border is at a politicized fever pitch including the continued conflation of record-high apprehensions and border encounters with an “open border” and support for Trump era policies like Title 42 that make border enforcement more difficult. In combination with their anti-immigrant judicial activism, the border excuse for legislative inaction seeks to ensure that popular solutions are blocked while even temporary protections are stripped from Dreamers, making those with DACA – who have lived in the U.S. a minimum of 15 years and registered with the government multiple times – deportable.

According to Douglas Rivlin, Director of Communication at America’s Voice: “It’s a vicious and cynical circle by Republicans that goes like this: fearmonger over the border and conflate border apprehensions with an ‘open’ border; seek to strip DACA protections from Dreamers in the courts relying on the “anti-immigrant judicial pipeline;” and cite the very border you’re politicizing as an excuse to justify blocking a popular and long overdue legislative solution for Dreamers and other long-settled immigrants. And one of the biggest perpetrators of this cycle is Texas’ own Senator John Cornyn, who’s long talked a big game at home only to continually be a roadblock to progress on an issue many of his donors support.

It adds up to cynical politics at odds with what the country needs, Dreamers have earned, and what three-fourths of Americans support.”

Below, find key excerpts of the Dallas News story, “Border crisis hobbles DACA progress in Congress, prolongs limbo for Dreamers,

“Friday marked one year since a federal judge in Houston ruled the program unlawful, a victory for Texas and eight other states that had challenged DACA. The clamor for Congress to step in has only grown since then.

Business and religious groups are demanding action. “Dreamers,” as they are often called — based on never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act — have grown increasingly anxious. The window is closing fast. An appeals court heard arguments earlier in July. By the time the Supreme Court settles the fate of DACA once and for all, Republicans will probably have regained control of the House. They’ll be in no mood to confer legal status on anyone…Republicans accuse President Joe Biden of signaling an open border by trying to reverse Donald Trump’s hard-line policies.

Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz led a group of GOP senators on Friday to survey the situation around McAllen and keep up pressure on the White House.

… The assessment that the border is “wide open” is disputed. If enforcement was so lax, says the White House and its defenders, how could so many people be caught? Rather, they argue, it’s the remnants of harsh Trump-era policies that force desperate people to wade the Rio Grande or find holes in the fencing — policies barring asylum-seekers from presenting themselves at ports of entry, or turning most away under Title 42, the pandemic-era emergency health order.

“That doesn’t mean that the border is not secure. It means that it’s very much closed. That’s why people try to find other ways to cross. If we were to fix the asylum system and reopen the border, we wouldn’t have that problem,” said Juliana Macedo do Nascimento, deputy director of federal advocacy at United We Dream. “The border situation is the way it is because Republicans made it so, so that they could have this narrative” about chaos at the border, she asserted, calling it “cynical” to punish Dreamers who have spent most of their lives in the United States for current problems at the border.

Macedo do Nascimento herself could face deportation if DACA disappears. She was 14 when her family moved from Brazil to Southern California in 2001. Now 36, she’s never been back.

Those kinds of tales make the plight of DACA-eligible immigrants the low-hanging fruit of immigration policy. Three-fourths of the public supports granting permanent legal status.

“These are people’s lives,” Macedo do Nascimento said. “A vast majority of the American people really want to see Congress act on this and provide a pathway to citizenship for us.”