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Could Daca Dreamers Face Deportation?

Will Dreamers Face Deportation?

After last week's open-floor Senate debate on immigration, there were high hopes that we'd see a bipartisan immigration bill pass in Congress. The week ended rather anticlimactically, however - Congress didn't pass any bill on immigration and failed to extend protection to the DACA Dreamers. That leaves one big question unanswered:

Will the DACA Dreamers face Deportation on March 5th?

Thanks to two court injunctions in California and New York, the protections given to DACA Dreamers will not automatically disappear on March 5th. Dreamers who already have DACA protections will keep them, and those whose protections will expire are allowed to renew their status for two more years.

Processing times, however, mean that some Dreamers may risk deportation until their paperwork is completed. According to The New Yorker, the government takes roughly three months process DACA applications.

"For those whose status has expired, even if they re-applied immediately after the first injunction was issued, early last month, will have to live without protection until their paperwork is processed, meaning that they can’t work legally and are vulnerable to deportation."

This means that some DACA recipients - specifically those who saw their protection expire prior to the federal injunction, and now have to wait up to three months for new paperwork, will have to concern themselves with the possibility of being deported.

They will also lose their right to work and may lose their jobs - even temporarily - which will bring a huge cost to their families, as well as the local business community. </pL

According to research by New American Economy (NAE), a coalition of business leaders, local businesses could incur expenses of up to $1,769,400 in daily restaffing costs if DACA ends. The program's end would also mean a loss of local, state and federal taxes, and $339,864 in spending power lost every week.

"Right now, as more Dreamers lose status and American companies feel the economic pinch, it’s imperative the Senate get back to the drawing board and find a path to 60 votes” said John Feinblatt, president of NAE.

More concerning, however, are the lives of children, community members and families stuck in limbo.

Will Congress Pass a DREAM Act?

Three bills were voted on during the Senate's immigration debate, and while all three failed, there's a lot we can learn about the immigration climate in Washington from the way the voting played out.

Of the three measures voted on, the first most closely resembled a "Clean Dream Act." The second bill was a middle-of-the-road alternative drafted by a group of Senators called the Common Sense Caucus, while the third bill was essentially a copy of Trump's proposed immigration plan.

While the media spent a lot of time talking about Trump's immigration plan - the only one he said he would sign into law - the actual voting in the Senate showed that the immigration climate in Congress wasn't nearly as conservative.

Voting strongly supported both the Clean Dream bill and the Common Sense Caucus' middle-of-the-road solution. The very conservative plan that Trump proposed only received 39 votes, while the first two bills received 52 and 54 votes, respectively. Unfortunately, neither bill hit the 60 member threshold that it would need to pass in the Senate.

So What Will Happen Now?

Congress could still step in to resolve this situation by simply extending DACA for another year or two as a temporary fix. This is one very likely scenario.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake from Arizona wrote in a letter in the Washington Post that he will be introducing a bill that extends DACA protections for three years, along with providing three years of funding for border security. It's a short term solution but it would keep DACA recipients from facing deportation.

"I’ll be the first to admit this “three for three” approach is far from a perfect solution," said Senator Flake in his letter "but it would provide a temporary fix by beginning the process of improving border security and ensuring DACA recipients will not face potential deportation."

By March 23rd, Congress will have to vote on another funding resolution to keep the government open, and advocates hope that DACA will be part of these funding negotiations.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said this week he still wants to pass legislation on DACA in March, but minimized the importance of the deadline Trump set when he canceled the program in September.

"We think this deadline's an important deadline. Obviously, with the court ruling it's not as important as it was before," Ryan said.

This way of thinking, of course, doesn't take into account that the lapse time will negatively impact the lives of many of the program's recipients.

Senator Flake expressed a more remorseful perspective. "We may not have been able to deliver a permanent solution to these problems, but we cannot abdicate the responsibility of Congress to solve them. There are too many people with too much at stake."