Congress Continues to Fail to Unify and Protect Dreamers

Sana Rizvi
January 19, 2018

Congress is still divided on a plan to protect DACA recipients from deportation. As bills emerge, NETWORK will continue to analyze and describe the differences between all possible proposals. Read NETWORK’s summary of the Dream Act, Bridge Act, and more bills introduced months ago.

As always, NETWORK continues to urge Congress to pass a bill as close to the Dream Act as possible, that includes a pathway to citizenship and doesn’t include a high cost for family migration or increase border expenses.

Uniting and Securing America Act (Hurd – Aguilar Bill H.R. 4796)

This bill, also known as the USA Act, is the House compromise bill that sponsors believe can garner support from House Democrats as well as a core group of Republicans.  The bill currently has 26 Republicans and 27 Democrats as cosponsors. It provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and TPS holders and carries over language from the Dream Act requiring eligible recipients to have been brought to the US before the age of 18, pass a background check and meet requirements for either work or education. It also calls for more immigration judges to push through the backlog of cases and authorizes tech on the border as a form of border security.  This bill was written in consultation with border community organizations and the Hispanic Caucus. The List of current cosponsors can be found here.

Durbin-Graham Proposal

Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have been working for months on a bill that can pass with a majority of Senators.  While no concrete language exists to date, their proposal provides a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and mirrors language from the Dream Act. It also authorizes $2 billion for border security, eliminates the visa lottery system and limits family-based migration by preventing Dreamers from sponsoring their parents. 3 Democrats (Durbin, Bob Menendez (D-NJ),  and Michael Bennet (D-CO)) and 3 Republicans (Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Graham) created this proposal and are currently trying to garner support from their colleagues.  Four Republican Senators – Susan Collins (R-ME),  Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Lisa Murkowski (R- AK) and Mike Rounds (R-SD) – signed on in support of the proposal.

“Securing America’s Future” Act (Goodlatte Bill H.R. 4760)

NETWORK opposes Representative Goodlatte’s bill because it fails to meet the most important criteria for a compassionate solution. H.R. 4760 does not offer Dreamers a pathway to citizenship, and it authorizes money for a border wall and aims to overhaul the entire immigration system by making severe cuts to family reunification programs. This bill would be devastating to our communities by taking an “enforcement first” approach by attacking the federal funding of sanctuary areas and heavily criminalizing visa overstays. Simply put, this is a terrible bill.

It’s time for Congress to stop playing with peoples’ lives and pass legislation to protect Dreamers in our country. Call your Senators today at 1-888-410-0619 (Call twice to reach both your Senators) and tell them to protect Dreamers. Call your Representatives at 1-888-496-3502.