10 years of limbo. DACA recipients need permanent relief now

One of the few issues most Americans can agree on when it comes to the thorny topic of immigration is that longtime residents who were brought to the United States illegally as children should be given permanent status. Congress should seize 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 in peril in federal court, California Senator Alex Padilla has joined other Democratic senators in corralling the passage of bipartisan legislation after Thanksgiving that would provide a permanent solution to these immigrants whose fate has been in limbo for decades. year. . Legislation can be a stand-alone bill or language attached to a government spending bill that must pass. After all, such 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, appealed to common sense, making the case to Republicans for offering permanent residency to immigrants who have lived in the country most of their lives and worked in essential jobs. economic boosts.

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It was a last-ditch effort to resolve an issue that has vexed lawmakers for decades. There is a short window of opportunity before Republicans take control of the House, closing the door for at least two more years on any permanent fix. The House of Representatives passed a bill to give “Dreamers” legal status in 2021. It is time for the Senate to approve the legislation, which will 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 young immigrants who met certain requirements the chance for legal residency. DACA has allowed more than 800,000 young immigrants in the US to live, work and travel legally, but it is meant to be a temporary solution. It has survived a legal challenge, but its fate will now be decided by a US district judge who previously ruled in a lawsuit filed by several states led by Texas claiming that DACA is illegal. The US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit has sent the case back to the judge for final resolution.

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Instead of waiting for the resolution of that federal court case, Congress should find a way to offer permanent relief to the immigrants we know as Dreamers, who are truly American and have built lives here as students, entrepreneurs, essential workers. and a valued member of every community.

Is this a long shot? Perhaps, but now 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 the Democratic and Republican legislatures. Initial bipartisan support for The Dream Act eroded dramatically in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks heightened security concerns.

Since then, various attempts to revive different versions of the Dream Act have failed in Congress as Republicans want tighter border controls. The border has been strengthened in many ways over the years, but the fate of Dreamers and undocumented immigrants remains uncertain. DACA now represents a long-standing failure by federal lawmakers to create the comprehensive immigration reform that is needed.

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Poll after poll over the years show that most Americans want DACA recipients to be allowed to stay legally in the US. feelings towards immigrants and immigration have become more positive in recent years.”

Of course, some people prefer DACA recipients to leave the country, perhaps thinking 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 annually, according to the nonpartisan Center for American Progress.

Granting Dreamers permanent status is especially important for California, which is home to about 170,000 of the current 600,000 DACA recipients nationwide.

It’s time for senators to put aside their differences and show leadership in addressing the plight of the Dreamers.

– Los Angeles Times / TNS

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