10 years of limbo. DACA recipients need permanent relief now

One of the few issues on which most Americans can agree on the vexed topic of immigration is that long-term residents who were brought into the United States illegally as children should be granted permanent status. Congress should take the opportunity during the lame duck session to pass such legislation before the end of the year.

With the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy at risk in federal court, California Senator Alex Padilla has joined with other Democratic Senators to support passing bipartisan legislation after Thanksgiving that would provide a permanent solution to these immigrants who have fate that has been in store for them for years. . Legislation could be a stand-alone bill or language attached to a government spending bill that must pass. Either way, that legislation would need the support of at least 10 Republicans and all 50 Democrats to pass. Padilla, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship and Border Security, is appealing to common sense, making the case for Republicans to offer permanent residency to immigrants who have lived in the country most of their lives and works in essential jobs. the economy strengthens.

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It is a last ditch effort to solve a problem that has plagued lawmakers for years. There is a short window of time before Republicans take control of the House, closing the door for at least two more years on any permanent settlement. The House passed a bill to give legal status to “Dreamers” in 2021. It’s time for the Senate to approve the legislation, which would allow it to reach President Joe Biden’s desk soon.

President Barack Obama created DACA by executive order in 2012 after Congress failed to pass a bill that would have offered legal residency to young immigrants who met certain requirements. DACA allowed more than 800,000 young immigrants in the US to live, work and travel legally, but it was meant to be a temporary solution. He survived legal challenges, but his fate is now being decided by a US district judge who earlier ruled in a lawsuit filed by several states led by Texas arguing that DACA is illegal. The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit sent the case back to the judge for final resolution.

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Instead of waiting for that federal court case to be resolved, Congress needs to find a way to offer permanent relief to the immigrants we know as Dreamers, who are all-American and have built lives here as college students. , as entrepreneurs, and essential workers. and valuable members of all communities.

Is this a long shot? Perhaps, but it would be a good time to remember that the original Dream Act was introduced in 2001 by Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and combined elements of two bills sponsored by Democratic and Republican legislators. Initial bipartisan support for the Dream Act declined sharply in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks that raised security concerns.

Since then, efforts to revive various versions of the Dream Act have stalled in Congress as Republicans want tighter border controls. The border has been strengthened in many ways in recent years, but the fate of Dreamers and other undocumented immigrants remains uncertain. DACA now represents the long-standing failure of federal lawmakers to enact much-needed comprehensive immigration reform.

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Survey after poll shows for years that most Americans want DACA recipients to be allowed to stay legally in the United States In a 2017 analysis by the conservative American Enterprise Institute — at the height of anti-immigrant hysteria Trump — found that “General Americans’ feelings toward immigrants and immigration have become more positive in recent years.”

Of course, some people might prefer that DACA recipients leave the country, perhaps thinking that these immigrants are a financial drain on taxpayers. But Dreamers contribute about $6.2 billion in federal taxes and $3.3 billion in state and local taxes each year, according to the nonpartisan Center for American Progress.

Granting permanent status to Dreamers is critical to California, where about 170,000 of the 600,000 current DACA recipients nationwide live.

It is time for the Senators to put aside their differences and show leadership as they face the fate of the Dreamers.

— Los Angeles Times/TNS

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