Former DHS Heads Urge Swift Action for Dreamers

Communications Assistant

January 3, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three former secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent a letter to Congress urging members to pass legislation that provides a permanent legislative solution for Dreamers.

Jeh Johnson and Janet Napolitano, who served under President Barack Obama, and Michael Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, urged Congress to pass legislation by the middle of January “to ensure a successful program, avoid significant hardship for [U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services], the business community and Dreamers themselves.”

“As former Secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security, we are acutely aware of the challenges that must be met and the time necessary for DHS to implement a system to effectively adjudicate applications for status adjustments by Dreamers,” they write. In order for applications to be approved before March 5th, the effective end date of DACA, the signatories call on Congress “to pass a bill by January 19th to provide enough time for USCIS to process applications before tens of thousands of DACA recipients are negatively impacted by the loss of their work authorization or removal from the United States.”

The letter adds to broad and deep support for Dreamers from across the nation’s geographic and political spectrum — letters from House Republicans and prominent conservatives, as well as law enforcement, evangelicals, universities and business leaders have called for legislation that would allow Dreamers to stay and work in the U.S. permanently. If a solution is not implemented by the March 5th deadline, the number of individuals losing DACA each day will increase sharply.

“There is no magic wand to implement a system for processing applications from hundreds of thousands of Dreamers,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “There won’t be a solution in March unless there is action now.”

The full letter is available here.