Not long ago, the president began to unravel Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Obama-era program shielding people brought to the United States illegally as children from deportation. The order has been both widely criticized and praised, but the president’s approach on immigration has also caused some rifts even within the Republican Party.
The president and his administration are right to be concerned about national security; the interests of this country are a raft of nettlesome foreign policy and national security challenges. We, as Americans, should be greatly attentive to the safety of our nation.
During a town hall meeting in January 2017, Speaker Paul Ryan made a distinctive statement to an apprehensive “dreamer” mother, promising her that the revocation of protections for the DREAMers brought here as children would not be carried out. Ryan’s assertions suggested that Republicans and Trump are trying to find a solution without ripping apart families currently protected by DACA.
Civics Lesson: DREAM Act
The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, also called the DREAM Act, is a bill last introduced into Congress on March 26, 2009. Its purpose is to give undocumented students a chance at becoming permanent residents. The bill provides students with a path to citizenship regardless of the status passed on to them by their undocumented parents. A previous version of the bill stated that if a student entered the U.S. 5 years before the passage of the legislature and was under the age of 16 when they entered the U.S., they would be eligible for a 6-year conditional residency status after completing an Associate’s degree or two years of military service. If at the end of the 6-year period the individual has demonstrated good moral character, he or she could then apply for U.S. citizenship. Image: Jane Son / Shutterstock.com
A previous version of the bill stated that if a student entered the U.S. 5 years before the passage of the legislature and was under the age of 16 when they entered the U.S., they would be eligible for a 6-year conditional residency status after completing an Associate’s degree or two years of military service. If at the end of the 6-year period the individual has demonstrated good moral character, he or she could then apply for U.S. citizenship.
Image: Jane Son / Shutterstock.com
But Ryan’s statement is now reading more like a broken promise made 18 months ago, as he currently works to prevent House GOP members from voting on a bill designed to protect DREAMers.
As reported by The Washington Post, Republicans in the House are pushing a petition that would force a vote on immigration bills, including two measures that would grant DREAMers legal status, one of which is packaged with fortifications to border security. In just a few short weeks, seventeen Republicans have signed the petition, meaning that they only need eight more votes to pass it, since Democrats are already on board. Speaker Ryan is attempting to put a stop to this vote, claiming that there’s no sense in voting on measures protecting the DREAMers that Trump would veto.
Just last month, Trump told senators meeting at the White House on immigration policy that whatever bipartisan solution they could develop for the DREAMers facing deportation, he would sign into law.
But the president’s commitment proved fleeting. Though he had originally promised to help DREAMers, he ultimately was convinced by aides and conservative lawmakers to use the sympathy for DREAMers to exact broader limitations on legal immigration.
Reactions among conservatives to President Trump’s proposal for amnesty for 1.8 million young illegal immigrants in exchange for increased border security and immigration restrictions is mixed on Capitol Hill. The immigrants specified in this proposal would be put on a path to citizenship that the administration estimates would take 10 to 12 years, and would involve work, education, and character requirements. Many Republicans, however, are opposed to this course of action, including Republican Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va. Brat told The Daily Signal that he is concerned about the plan’s framework:
“I think it was probably largely written by White House and Senate staff, who are looking at a compromise deal instead of looking at policy solutions that are thoughtful, and one immediate problem is that it gives amnesty not only to DACA, but people who didn’t even sign up to be DACA and didn’t take advantage of that opportunity.”
Tensions are growing between the Trump administration and Republicans on immigration policies. One of the many key objectives is to protect DREAMers, but that may or may not be the direction President Trump decides to take.