As 10 state attorney generals call on President Donald Trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – granted to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States at a young age – South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin reportedly plan to re-introduce the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act. First proposed in 2001, the bill seeks to create a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants who know no other home than the United States. According to McClatchy DC, the bill is still being finalized, but Republican Sen. Graham hopes to introduce it once again on Thursday.
Since being introduced, the bill has failed to pass several times. In 2010, the bill passed in the House, but didn’t receive enough votes in the Senate, so it died. As a result, then-President Barack Obama created DACA in 2012 through an executive action. But because he couldn’t get Congress’ support, it made DACA easily revocable. Nearly 800,000 are beneficiaries of the program. As USA Today reports, Trump could unilaterally move to end DACA with a simple memo. Washington University of Law professor emeritus Stephen Legomsky explains that the program came from an executive memorandum created by Obama’s secretary of Homeland security. All Trump would have to do is rescind the memo or issue a new one.
Currently, the future of DACA hangs in the balance. Recently, several outlets announced that DACA would remain in place. But quickly after, the Department of Homeland Security stated that the Trump Administration hadn’t definitively decided. “The future of the DACA program continues to be under review with the administration,” a DHS spokesperson said, according to Politico. “The president has remarked on the need to handle the issue with compassion and with heart.”
Just last week, Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that the program likely wouldn’t hold up in court. But whether or not Graham and Durbin introduce their new Dream Act, immigration activists will continue fighting for the future of so many.
In a United We Dream press release, Greisa Martínez Rosas said, “Today, 800,000 immigrant youth are protected from deportation and can work because of the DACA program and hundreds of thousands are protected by the TPS program. Both of these protections are under threat because of extremist anti-immigrant politicians who must be stopped. The vision of United We Dream is to win permanent protection, citizenship, and equity for all of our communities and our leaders will continue working steadily toward that goal. The news of a possible new Dream Act does not change our goal: to protect our families. Legislation or not, we must organize to protect immigrants and Secretary Kelly and the President must keep the DACA promise.”