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Daca & Dreamers: An Update

Dreamers remain in limbo as Senate and House members struggle to get a vote called on DACA. A Mid-December Update on DACA and the Dreamers.

Where Dreamers Stand

Back in September, President Trump terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He then challenged Congress to come up with new legislation that would protect the nearly 700,00 "Dreamers" before their protected status ran out in March of 2018. Dreamers are currently in limbo as they wait to see if a vote on DACA will take place before the end of the year.

Why there has been no vote

Congress is debating a government funding bill, which, if not passed by the end of the year, will essentially mean a shutdown of the federal government. Several of DACA's most vocal Democratic supporters were trying to tie the DACA vote to this funding bill; however, the Democrats have decided they are not willing to be responsible for the shutdown of the government if it doesn't pass.

“Democrats are not willing to shut government down, no,” said Democratic Senator Nancy Pelosi when asked how far Democrats would take the fight over Dreamers.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut echoed Ms. Pelosi's feelings. “Obviously, I want a Dreamers fix by the end of the year,” Murphy said in an interview. “I’m not sure that it serves our purposes to draw hard lines in the sand in the middle of negotiations.”

Do Dreamers Stand a Chance?

According to surveys by major media outlets, including Fox News, CNN and the Washington Post, support for Dreamers is generally strong and it is also bipartisan, meaning that both Democrats and Republicans support this group staying in the United States. In all of the surveys conducted, respondents who favor permitting Dreamers to stay in the United States generally outnumber those who would deport them by at least 3-to-1, and often by 4-to-1 or 5-to-1.

There have been a number of bills presented in Congress that would protect the Dreamers from deportation by granting them some form of legal status and putting them on a pathway to citizenship. Unfortunately, the leaders of the House and Senate have not called for votes on these bills.

A bill introduced to the House of Representatives by a Republican from Florida, Carlos Curbelo, has the support of 34 Republican co-sponsors and would set dreamers on a 10-year pathway to citizenship. That’s more than enough GOP votes to ensure passage of a House bill to address the problem, given overwhelming Democratic support for such a move. Still, the proposal has not been called to vote.

The 34 Republican Representatives who support Curbelo's plan wrote an open letter to Speaker Paul D. Ryan urging him to call for a vote on a “permanent legislative solution” for the Dreamers. "They are Americans in every way except their immigration status," said the letter to Ryan.

Although there has been no call to vote, most lawmakers are hopeful that there will be a solution.

Promising discussions about a bipartisan solution that would include saving Dreamers and boosting border security are happening in the House as well as the Senate. Both Republican and Democratic senators said a deal would include measures to improve border security, something which Republicans have repeatedly pushed for.

Until Congress comes to vote on their status, the Dreamers remain in political limbo and their future in the United States continues to be uncertain. If you have any questions about your legal status, or need guidance on how to move through confusing immigration policies, please contact us and we will be happy to help you through the process.