After President Donald Trump announced his decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, immigrants and their allies called for the government to keep immigrant families together with a DACA replacement. But progress has been continually delayed, and this month is no exception. Senator John Cornyn told reporters on December 18th that an immigration bill was not part of the Senate’s agenda before the holidays.
Cornyn said that, instead, legislation to protect Dreamers would be introduced in January. In response to concerns that Congress might miss the early March deadline for passing the bill, he said that Trump could extend the deadline.
The Trump administration repealed DACA in September. And while Congress has until March 5th, 2018 to pass a replacement, immigration legislation has taken a backseat to the Republican tax bill in the last few days before Congress recesses for the holidays.
More than 800,000 people rely on DACA to remain in the U.S. But due to the cancellation of DACA, many are at risk of losing job permits or other qualifications. Trump gave DACA recipients who were about to lose protection one month to file for renewal, but many missed this deadline, and about 22,000 people are expected to lose their status between September 5th and March 5th as a result. The Center for American Progress estimates that about 122 people lose their status each day that Congress delays action.
The immigration legislation to be considered is known as the clean Dream Act. This bill, introduced in July, would grant permanent residency to those who once qualified for DACA.
Dreamers and other supporters of a DACA replacement have taken to the streets to demand that Congress include a clean Dream Act in its year-end legislation. Most recently, seven former DACA recipients and one ally were arrested on December 16th in these protests and are currently participating in a hunger strike from jail until they are released.
It’s not enough for Congress to say that they will eventually pass immigration legislation. With Dreamers losing their status and being deported every day, the longer that the Dream Act is delayed, the more people will be affected. If you want to support Dreamers there are several important organizations you can donate to. We hope that the Dream Act is passed as soon as possible, and we will stand with all Dreamers until it is.