The Week Ahead: Feb. 5-9

Communications Assistant

February 5, 2018


McCain and Coons to Introduce Bipartisan DACA Proposal

Sens. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware) are expected to introduce a bipartisan proposal today that offers a path to citizenship to Dreamers. Similar to the USA Act introduced in the House in January by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Pete Aguilar (D-California), the bill would grant legal status to Dreamers and lay foundations for enhanced border security without explicit funding for a wall.

The bill will join a growing number of bipartisan immigration proposals, including a proposal from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), as well as a plan from the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus introduced last week.

While Trump has vocally opposed any proposal that does not authorize a physical border wall, the bill plays an important role in emphasizing the need for a narrow, focused approach to immigration legislation in order to reach a solution for Dreamers.

Dreamers Still Facing Uncertainty as Spending Deadline Looms

With current government funding set to expire on Thursday and Democrats heading to their annual retreat on Wednesday, Congress is expected to pass another short-term continuing resolution before the end of this week.

While lawmakers are focused on passing a spending bill and are likely to tackle immigration after a short-term spending deal is reached, only 28 days remain until March 5, the date that the number of individuals losing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status will increase sharply. With approximately 122 DACA recipients already losing their status every day, pressure is mounting for Congress to reach a legislative solution for Dreamers. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) has said that a DACA deal is “not likely” this week.

Although a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to continue processing DACA renewals earlier this year, permanent legislation remains as urgent as ever — as Congress continues to stall on a permanent solution, stories of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detaining individuals whose DACA status expired highlight the dire need for a legislative fix to protect Dreamers.


Summary of immigration legislation introduced and government reports on immigration:


WASHINGTON POST (Wides-Muñoz Op-Ed): Family-based immigration has ‘merit,’ too
By Laura Wides-Muñoz
Feb. 5, 2018

In the debate over which and how many immigrants to welcome into the United States, the White House has set up a clear contrast between immigrants with “merit” and those with family connections. The first category incorporates “people who are skilled, who want to work, who will contribute to our society, and who will love and respect our country,” as President Trump laid out in his State of the Union address. The second category, the administration claims, encompasses low-skilled workers who put downward pressure on wages and increase the budget deficit while fueling gang violence and terrorism.
Framed that way, it seems obvious that the United States should curtail what Trump calls “chain migration,” in which U.S. citizens and green-card holders can sponsor family members living abroad to come here, too.

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USA TODAY: Evangelicals may be driving Republican stance to embrace ‘DREAMers’
By Eliza Collins
Feb. 3, 2018

WASHINGTON – As the debate over immigration rages in Congress without an agreement in sight, there is growing consensus over one piece of the equation: The need to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children from deportation.
Republicans have come to embrace these “DREAMers” in part because many evangelical Christians — who make up a quarter of Americans and are an influential conservative bloc within the GOP — have become more vocal about the topic over the last half decade.
The idea stems from the Bible: “Individuals are created within the image of God and have value and worth. So each person — regardless of their location and their birth and skin color, it doesn’t matter. That individual has value and worth in the eyes of God and they should be valued by other individuals as well,” Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, an evangelical Christian and former youth camp director, told USA TODAY.

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GAINESVILLE SUN (Florida): Fuchs: Dreamers are ‘some of our very, very best students’
By Deborah Strange
Feb. 1, 2018

University of Florida President Kent Fuchs said Dreamers are important to the school’s future.
University of Florida President Kent Fuchs spoke in defense of Dreamers in a conference call Thursday, saying the school has hundreds of students in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
“They are individuals who are some of our very, very best students,” Fuchs said in a call with Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood and Tallahassee-based pastor Dean Inserra.
The call was meant to urge members of Congress to pass a solution to individuals in the DACA program, known as Dreamers. These people were brought to the United States illegally as children and have since grown up in the country.
During his campaign, President Donald Trump pledged to eliminate the program, which was started under President Barack Obama. Lawmakers haven’t decided what to do with the legality, or illegality, of the individuals’ citizenships.

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BROOKINGS: Losing Dreamers would be a loss for Heartland economy
By John C. Austin
Jan. 31, 2018

President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric played well to many in Rust Belt states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, helping knock down the Democrats’ “Blue Wall” and providing the necessary electoral votes to win the 2016 election.
Yet while states with the nation’s largest immigrant populations—California, Texas, Florida, Arizona—are often perceived to be most affected by federal immigration policies, the Midwest has a lot at stake, and not necessarily in ways anticipated by the region’s voters.
Ours are communities that for years have hemorrhaged population to the Sun Belt and other parts of the country. But as an earlier post in this series demonstrates, legal immigrants have kept coming to the Midwest.

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