A bipartisan group of members of Congress have made some moves lately to protect the Dreamers from PEOTUS Donald Trump's promise to reverse President Obama's executive order known as DACA, which would leave them at risk for deportation: More Republicans And Democrats Sign On To Bill To Protect Dreamers From Trump:
With eight days to go before President-elect Donald Trump gets his chance to revoke protections from hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is relaunching their effort to keep those so-called Dreamers safe.
On Thursday, seven Republicans and eight Democrats signed on to a bill in the Senate and House to effectively maintain the work permits and deportation reprieve created by President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which Trump has promised to destroy.
The bill, called the Bridge Act, was initially introduced in the Senate in December by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), with three co-sponsors. It was reintroduced in the Senate for the new Congress, and in the House for the first time, with more co-sponsors now but still far from enough to ensure success or even a vote on Republican-controlled Capitol Hill.
But it could be the best chance Dreamers have to keep their work permits and driver’s licenses if Trump follows through on his promise to end DACA, which he and many other Republicans ― including supporters of the Bridge Act ― say went beyond Obama’s presidential authority in the first place. [...]
The Bridge Act wouldn’t grant legal status to DACA recipients, but would allow them and others who would qualify for the program to maintain work authorization in a new “provisional protected presence” status that would last for three years from the time the bill was enacted. It would also bar the government from using information collected for DACA for other purposes ― such as deportation ― with some exceptions for national security or non-immigration criminal investigations. Read on...
Whether this has a snowball's chance in hell of actually passing remains to be seen when we're contending with the likes of Steve King and his ilk and a Republican base that could care less what happens to these kids. And then there's Trump's choice of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, which means, as Simon Maloy discussed this week at Salon, that the Trump administration doesn't care what happens to these children either.
House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked about Trump's plan to end DACA at the town hall hosted by CNN this Thursday evening by a woman who was brought to the United States when she was 11 years old, and Ryan promised her they were going to find a legislative fix for the problem, so she shouldn't worry about being deported.
She didn't look like she was reassured by Ryan's promise, and who could blame her?
Transcript via CNN below:
TAPPER: I want to bring in now Angelica Villalobos. She lives in Oklahoma City. She was brought to the United States illegally from Mexico when she was 11 years old, so clearly through no fault of her own.
ANGELICA VILLALOBOS: Thank you, Speaker Ryan. My name is Angelica Villalobos. I'm undocumented. I've been - like he mentioned, I've been living in the State of Oklahoma. I'm here with one of my daughters, Destiny. I've been in the United States for 21 years. I am protected from deportation because of the DACA program. To be protected, I applied, went through a background check, and I paid almost nearly $1,000 in fees. It's clear that if DACA gets repealed, my daughter will lose her mother. And - I'm sorry. She will lose her mother and I want you to know that DACA has helped me. What do you - do you think that I should be deported and many families in my situation should?
RYAN: No. No, Angelica. First of all, I can see that you love your daughter and you are a nice person who has a great future ahead of you and I hope your future is here. I'll even repeat the sentiment that our incoming president says. That's the problem he wants to focus on. This is not the focus.
And so, what we have to do is find a way to make sure that you can get right with the law and we've got to do this in a good way, so that the rug doesn't get pulled out from under you and your family gets separated. That's the way we feel and that is exactly what our new incoming president has stated he wants to do.
Look, I got married in Oklahoma City. It's a great community. It's where - my wife is from that area. And I'm sure you're a great contributor to that community and we don't want to see you get separated from your family. So, we have to figure out how to fix this. But to do that, people need to have confidence that our laws are being followed and that we actually know who is coming and going, that we actually have a secure border.
So, I think what's really important for this issue writ large to get fixed - and Jake mentioned that I have a background in this - we've got to make sure that these laws are being enforced, that we are controlling our border, so violent criminals, repeat offenders don't come in and do these kinds of horrific things. We've got a drug problem, we've got a lot of problems and we want to be able to secure our border. When people get confidence in this country that our border is secured, that our laws are being enforced, then I really believe the country - all people in the country will be in a much better position to fix these thornier, bigger problems. But if you're worried about, you know, some deportation force coming, knocking on your door this year, don't worry about that.
TAPPER: So, let me ask you a question. For those who don't know, DACA is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival. It's an executive action that President Obama took, granting legal status for individuals like Angelica. If President-Elect Trump wants to undo DACA, you would tell him don't do it?
RYAN: Well, I think we have to come up with a solution for the DACA kids and that's something we, in Congress, and the Trump transition team are working on, is what's a good, humane solution.
There is a constitutional issue here, which is President Obama tried to unilaterally write laws without going through Congress. And as you know, one of the separation of powers, Presidents don't write laws. Congress writes laws. The elected legislative branch of government are the ones who write the laws. And so, this current president, President Obama, on this and many other occasions tried to go around Congress to unilaterally write laws, which is not the power of the president. So, there is an - that is unconstitutional.
And so, the point is, you just organize your life around this. You just told us how important this is to you and your family. So, what we have to do is figure out how to have a humane solution to this very legitimate, sincere problem and respect the rule of law. And that is what we're ...
TAPPER: The government has information about her now. What happens to that information? Will you introduce legislation to block it from being used to deport her?
RYAN: Everybody thinks that there's some deportation force that's being assembled. That's not happening.
TAPPER: President-Elect Trump actually used the term deportation force.
RYAN: That's not happening.
TAPPER: But that's why people think it.
RYAN: I know, I know. And I'm here to tell you, in Congress, it's not happening. And what's happening is - where did she go?
TAPPER: Mary Ann?
RYAN: Mary. What's happening is that's what he's asked us to focus on, that's where we're focusing on. Secure the border and the people who are violent criminals, repeat offenders who keep coming back in, we've got to focus on that. That's what we're focusing on.