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Can Congress actually get a deal on immigration? Here are five competing options
Admin posted a topic in Dream Act NewsWASHINGTON — The government is set to run out of money on Feb. 8 unless Congress passes another short-term spending bill, but the fate of undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children threatens to derail those negotiations once again. Last month, the government briefly shut down when Senate Democrats voted against a short-term spending bill because it didn’t include legal protections for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. The immigrants, nicknamed “DREAMers,” received deportation protection under an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. But President Trump announced in September that he was ending the program and gave Congress until March 5 to come up with a legislative solution. There is bipartisan agreement that there need to be protections for the group, however what else the bill should include is still very much up for debate. Democrats voted to re-open the government last month after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he intended to bring immigration legislation to the floor after Feb. 8 — so long as the government stays open. Assuming GOP leaders are able to muscle enough votes to keep the government funded this week, McConnell is likely to bring some immigration bill to the floor this month. But what that bill ends up looking like is anybody’s guess. Here are the main immigration proposals being discussed at the White House and in Congress: The Trump plan The White House plan would provide a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. That number is more than double the number of “DREAMers” who qualified for the Obama-era program. However, in exchange the Trump administration has asked for $25 billion to build a wall along the southern border. The White House plan would result in at least a 25% reduction of legal immigration because it would end the diversity visa lottery and drastically narrow family-based immigration. Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller listens as President Trump speaks during a meeting with lawmakers on immigration policy in the Cabinet Room of the White House on Jan. 9, 2018. (Photo: Evan Vucci, AP) When White House adviser Stephen Miller presented the plan to congressional staffers and Trump allies and surrogates last month, he pitched it as a compromise. But so far, the plan seems to only have inflamed the right and left. Many Democrats say the plan goes way too far in curbing of legal immigration, while hard-line conservatives say they’re uncomfortable with the proposed path to citizenship. The hardliner plan Some conservatives are viewing the DACA negotiations as an opportunity to get nearly every immigration enforcement measure they’ve ever wanted. That idea is brought together in a bill filed by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security committee. Chairman Bob Goodlatte questions witnesses during a House Judiciary Committee hearing concerning the oversight of the U.S. refugee admissions program on Capitol Hill on Oct. 26, 2017. (Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty Images) The “Securing America’s Future Act” mirrors the White House proposal by funding the border wall, ending the diversity visa program, and limiting family-based immigration. But it also cracks down on so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts; requires employers to use the E-Verify system to check the immigration status of job applicants; provides funding to hire 10,000 new federal immigration agents; and cuts at least 200,000 green cards a year given to foreigners. In exchange, the bill would provide temporary legal status to fewer than 800,000 DREAMers, requires them to renew their protections every three years, and provides no pathway to citizenship for them. The progressive option On the other end of the spectrum, some liberals are pushing for something far simpler: protections for DREAMers and nothing else. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. (Photo: Jack Gruber, USA TODAY) That is the premise behind Democrats who are pushing for the DREAM Act, a bill that has been introduced since 2001 that gave this population of young undocumented immigrant their name. First filed by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, the bill allows nearly all undocumented immigrants brought to the country before their 18th birthday to become U.S. citizens after a 13-year waiting period. That proposal took center stage during an on-camera White House meeting in January when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked Trump if he would support a “clean” version of the DREAM Act. The president said he would “like to do that,” before quickly being reined in by House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who clarified that the president needed border security in exchange for any protections for DREAMers. The bipartisan plans For any bill to be signed into law it must get bipartisan support in the Senate. While Republicans have enough cushion in the House to pass legislation without a single Democrat, in the Senate legislation requires 60 votes to pass. The Senate GOP has a 51-49 majority so they’ll need at least nine Democrats to support any legislation. There have been various bipartisan coalitions in both the House and Senate which have attempted to create compromise legislation, though so far none of them seem to provide enough immigration enforcement to get the White House on board. Sen. Chris Coons questions witnesses during a September 2016 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. (Photo: Suchat Pederson, The News Journal/USA TODAY) Some of the former “Gang of Eight” members who came up with a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013 have gotten back together and hashed out a compromise that addresses the “four pillars” the White House is calling for: Protections for the DREAMer population, some funding for border enforcement, and changes to the visa lottery and family-based immigration. The proposal being touted by Durbin and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., could have close to enough support to pass the Senate but the White House has dismissed it as dead on arrival. There’s also a more narrow bill in both the House and Senate that would address protections for "a little more than 1.8 million" DREAMers and border security, according to Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., one of the leading sponsors of this approach. The bill would bolster use of technology for border security and call on the Homeland Security secretary to submit a border security strategy to Congress within a year for review. The bill does not deal with family-based migration or the visa lottery system, both provisions Trump has insisted be included. The House version of the bill — introduced by Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., — has more than 50 bipartisan co-sponsors. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Coons announced the Senate version Monday. Coons told reporters he saw the bill as the minimum that should be passed and would be open to adding provisions to deal with other issues. The punt plan Some lawmakers are discussing the possibility of extending the March 5 deadline to buy more time to hash-out a deal. “That’d be a real loss. But that’s probably where we’re headed, OK?” Graham told Politico. Other lawmakers pushed back saying that Congress needed to work under the deadline the president had originally given. Coons described it as “plan z” and said it was a “terrible idea.” Still others are pointing to the courts as a reason to delay any action. A federal judge in California ordered the Department of Homeland Security to resume DACA, the program at the core of the ongoing battle. The department is now operating DACA, waiting for the Supreme Court to issue the final verdict on its legality. That means the program may survive until sometime this summer, the earliest the court could rule, even without Congressional action. Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/05/what-immigration-plan-congress-going-vote-daca-dreamers/307091002/
Hundreds join DACA march in downtown Holland
Calidreamer posted a topic in Local ActionThe march began at Hope College and ended with a rally at city hall on Tuesday. Roberto Jara marched for the dozens of of kids he has worked with, who have been recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act. Jara, executive director of Latin Americans United for Progress in Holland, was joined by about 200 Hope College students and community members from Holland as they marched to city hall and rallied to advocate for the implementation of a clean DREAM Act and immigration reform in the U.S. The DREAM Act stands for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act and is legislation that would protect undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The march started at Grove Point in the middle of Hope College’s campus at about 11 a.m. Afterwards, marchers rallied inside Holland City Hall and listened to a number of speakers, including Jara and Mayor Nancy DeBoer. “We need to call for our legislators to be leaders and make America great once again,” Jara said at the rally. “What really makes it great is that we have open arms and that we are welcoming and that we welcome people from all over the world. That’s what makes America great.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an announcement on Sept. 5, declaring the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, “an unconstitutional exercise of authority” that must be revoked. Congress has until March 5 to come up with a legislative workaround to replace DACA partially or entirely. Marchers chanted, “No hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho DACA students are here to stay,” as they made their way through downtown Holland. Members of the women’s protest choir Persisterhood joined the march and chimed in their own singing at points. Jocelyn Gallegos, a sophomore at Hope College and president of the Latino Student Organization, helped organize the rally and said it’s important to inform people of what the DREAM Act would do. “The DREAM Act is a segue to citizenship for all these people, who have so much potential and have so much to offer the country as a whole,” Gallegos said. Alejandra Gomez Limon, a senior at Hope College who helped organize the march and spoke at the rally, said it’s important to give people a platform to advocate as well as educate others. “I hope this is going to be a kickstart for what’s to come and it allows us to see how to go forward,” Gomez Limon said. “We have the six month deadline with DACA and this is really to get the movement started.” Amari Brown, a freshman at Hope College, attended the march and rally with Hope College sophomore Brandon Fuller. Both said they attended the events to show suppport for DACA recipients. “I hope it brings attention to the issue,” Brown said. “The worst thing that could happen at this point is for people to forget or stop thinking it’s important. We need to keep making noise then legislators will hear that and make the necessary changes.” DeBoer said the publicity from the event and the large turnout will make people pay attention to the cause. Other speakers at the rally included Cady Short-Thompson, provost at Hope College, and Rev. Gordon Wiersman, a co-pastor at Hope Church. Short-Thompson said we are all immigrants and shared stories of how the DACA rescindment has impacted the lives of recipients from an article published by the Los Angeles Times. Wiersman said the community will have to come together with dignity and respect to welcome everyone. “Part of what I want to say, as a person of faith, is that things like justice, hospitality and human dignity belong at the center of our political dialogue rather than fear and division,” Wiersman said. Jara became emotional while speaking at the rally and said this is not the America he grew up in. “I had my share of discrimination, but I knew America’s ideals and I knew this is my home,” Jara said. “Since last November, when I talk to kids I see the hopelessness in their eyes because they feel they are living in a country that hates them and hates their family.” — Follow this reporter on Twitter @SentinelJake. Source: http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20171101/hundreds-join-daca-march-in-downtown-holland
Sen. Kamala Harris says she won't back bill to keep government open without a plan for 'Dreamers'
Calidreamer posted a topic in Dream Act NewsSen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that she won't back a bill that allows the federal government to spend money unless Congress has a legislative fix to address the legal status of hundreds of thousands of people brought to the country illegally as children. "I will not vote for an end-of-year spending bill until we are clear about what we are going to do to protect and take care of our DACA young people in this country," Harris said. "Each day in the life of these young people is a very long time, and we've got to stop playing politics with their lives." President Trump announced in September that he was giving Congress until March before the program would shutter and recipients would begin losing work permits and protection from deportation. An estimated 200,000 of the nearly 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program live in California, giving the Golden State an outsized stake in resolving their legal status. Harris spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday with other members of the California delegation to urge quick action on the issue. "It is absolutely urgent that we pass the legislation," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said. "We are determined that the Dream Act will be the law of the land before the year is out." Democrats and Republicans are negotiating the details of a fix, and when something could pass. Pelosi has hinted that if Republicans don't have the votes within their party to pass the end-of-year spending bill, which Congress has to pass to keep the government open, Democrats will offer their votes — for a price. The Huffington Post reported that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told conservative Republicans behind closed doors this week that a DACA fix could be added to the spending bill, something sure to infuriate some in his party. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said a "bipartisan consensus" is coming together on a DACA solution that will include border security, though he didn’t provide additional details besides no border wall. Durbin said he is aiming to get a DACA fix passed before Congress considers the spending bill, which is expected to be one of the last major things lawmakers do this year, but that many Democrats in the House and Senate share Harris’ sentiment. “There are few opportunities and many things to do before the end of the session, before Christmas. We are seizing any available opportunity to move the Dream Act,” Durbin said. “Many of us feel we couldn’t in good conscience go home for Christmas without seeing this law passed.” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that with Trump's urging, Congress should find a fix and there is "no reason not to go ahead." "I view this bill as the most important thing we can get done now — both political parties," Feinstein said. "The president is for it, hopefully he doesn't want an arm and a leg for it, but he understands how important this is and we can get it done." Source: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-harris-dream-act-20171025-story.html
Student organization shows support for DACA recipients and immigrants
Admin posted a topic in Dream Act NewsIn a time where intense political tension surrounds the future of immigrants and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, one student organization is taking a stand for immigration rights. Advocates for Immigrants & Refugee Rights (AIRR) at Florida State University Law had their first lunch meeting of the semester to discuss and debunk many stigmas surrounding immigrant and refugee populations. AIRR proudly hosted two FSU alumni to lead the discussion regarding immigration policy, Vania Llovera M.S. and Leonardo Arias L.L.M. Both Llovera and Arias work extensively in the realm of immigration. Llovera is currently the Assistant Director of the FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and is the Executive Director for the Big Bend Coalition Against Human Trafficking. Arias is a recent FSU Law graduate that practices in civil litigation, family, immigration and nationality. Arias explained how the United States’ system to process immigrants is overtly unjust and requires applicants to struggle through years of paperwork, political abuse and a slim chance of acceptance. Applicants can wait upwards of 21 years to even get a response. “I want the immigration system to be more fair,” Arias stated. “The current system is incredibly biased against immigrants and makes it difficult to come into this country. As an immigrant, I see this place as my country. I left my old country for political, social and economic reasons and I don’t intend to go back.” Arias arrived in the United States from Cuba several years ago. Similarly, Llovera follows up Arias’ discussion by directing focus to the human side of immigration. She states that the anti-immigration wave comes not from an economic standpoint that most argue for, but by social and racial friction. Of the 800,000 DACA recipients (also called Dreamers), over 90 percent of them are employed. Deporting all of the Dreamers would cost the U.S. economy over $400 billion in the workforce. Llovera continued on by pointing out how immigrants into the U.S. often are victims of widespread violence and corruption. “A lot of illegal immigrants say that they are here for better opportunities," Llovera said. "What they don’t say is that they might’ve died if they had stayed in their old country. They wouldn’t be here without a good reason.” Llovera’s family fled to the U.S. after the Salvadoran Civil War broke out in the 1980’s. When asked about the anti-immigration wave that’s been navigating the globe, Llovera replied expressing how unfair politics are in regard to immigration. “I’ve never seen anything this harsh against immigrants. I don’t know how it got this bad but it’s all political nonsense," Llovera said. He explains that he hopes that people realize how much of a mistake anti-immigrant systems actually are. He cites the the ‘build a wall’ campaign as part of the hysteria around immigration. "There’s no geographical way he can do that across the border," Llovera said. "Even so, why is Canada not being blocked?” This comes as a response to President Donald Trump’s longstanding promise to build a 2,000 mile long wall across the Mexico-United States border. President Trump has infamously had an anti-immigration stance since his first campaign day. Back in September, President Trump announced that he would be ending DACA, the Obama-era act that protects children of illegal immigrants from deportation. While recent polls not only show that around 70 percent of Americans are in favor of DACA, they also greatly prefer paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants rather than deportation. Even so, President Trump has made deportations the forefront of his administration. Last week, Rosa Maria Hernandez, a ten-year-old with cerebral palsy, had to undergo emergency gallbladder surgery. Her parents brought her into the U.S. when she was a baby. When Border Patrol stopped her ambulance and discovered that she was an undocumented immigrant, they escorted her to the hospital, guarded her room and proceeded to detain her. Hernandez, a young child with a severe illness stolen from a hospital, may be the next deportee. The recent spike of strident anti-immigration policies goes beyond DACA and the millions of Americans that will suffer as a result. Lawmakers and leaders of Florida stand together in defiance of this plague. On September 6, one day after President Trump announced that he would be ending DACA, FSU President John Thrasher emailed his students about his unwavering devotion. “As a state and nation, we have already invested in the education of these students as they pursue studies in business, education, high-tech and other critical areas," Thrasher said. "Let’s allow these young people to continue to contribute to the economy and their communities as they pursue their dreams here in America. I think it’s the right thing to do and we will help out students with resources and other services during this period of uncertainty.” On October 10, eight Florida mayors signed a petition demanding that congress act to protect DACA. The petitioners include Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman, Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver G. Gilbert III, Miramar Mayor Wayne M. Messam, Oakland Park Mayor John Adornato II, West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, Sunrise Mayor Michael J. Ryan, and Weston Mayor Daniel Stermer. In the letter, they state an appeal to protect Dreamers as well as immigrants in this country: “We write on behalf of the nation’s mayors to urge you to quickly pass bipartisan legislation that would enable Dreamers, who are people who have lived in America since they were children and built their lives here, to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship if they meet certain criteria. We pledge to work with you in this effort and to do whatever we can to assist you in seeing it enacted into law." The future of dreamers and immigrants remains a constant battle between mayors and organizations like AIRR against the Trump administration. Source: http://www.fsunews.com/story/news/2017/10/29/student-organization-shows-support-daca-recipients-and-immigrants/811195001/
Chancellor, Democrats Back Dream Act
Admin posted a topic in Dream Act NewsUC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference today (Oct. 25) in support of the Dream Act — legislation that would counteract President Donald Trump’s decision to end DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. DACA affords illegal immigrants known as “Dreamers,” who came to the United States as children, the right to stay in the country. But Trump says, no more: DACA ends March 5. “The idea that DACA students could be deported as early as March 6 is chilling to me,” said May, who appeared at the news conference as a representative of the UC system. The news conference, organized by congressional Democrats and carried live on the Senate Democrats YouTube channel, included remarks by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris of California, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, among other representatives. UC Regent Richard Blum also spoke, along with other leaders in higher education, including Chancellor Kristina Johnson of the State University of New York. Two “Dreamers” also gave remarks: Nejvi Bejko, who came with her parents to the United States from Albania at the age of 9 and today is an aspiring designer, a graduate of Michigan State University; and Leezia Dhalla, who was 6 when she moved to Texas with her parents and subsequently graduated from Northwestern University UC Davis ‘Dreamers’ Chancellor May spoke about the “Dreamers” who attend UC Davis, saying “they represent some of our most dedicated and inspirational students.” And those who have graduated, he said, “have blossomed with careers in medicine, law, social work and much more.” Read UC Davis student Karla Ornelas' op-ed in The Sacramento Bee: “A ‘Dreamer’ Wants to Give Back to the Central Valley.” “These students contribute to a rich diversity of cultures and perspectives that is integral to the success of our university as a global university,” May said. “They are paving the future for themselves and their families so they can give back to our society.” The chancellor continued: “We must give the best and brightest a chance to shine, no matter where they happened to be born, or how they were brought here as children. … They deserve to pursue a college education without fear of deportation.” Pelosi: Dream Act will be law by year’s end Trump announced Sept. 5 his decision to rescind DACA and tweeted a few hours later that “Congress now has six months to legalize” the program. A bipartisan slate of legislators already had moved to do just that, through the Dream Act of 2017, introduced in the Senate in July but not yet voted on. “We are determined that this Dream Act will be the law of the land before the end of the year,” Pelosi said at today’s news conference. “We reach out to our Republican colleagues with great anticipation that what they say about supporting the Dreamers will be reflected in their vote on the bill.” She thanked President Trump “for his commitment to support the Dream Act” and added: “He’s told us if it comes to his desk he will sign it.” Source: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/chancellor-may-democrats-back-dream-act/