Lawmakers could use a procedural tool called a discharge petition to force action in the U.S. House on the DREAM Act, to protect the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients now in limbo.
Seattle Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal talked about the new move during a news conference on Thursday with Democratic members of Congress including Washington’s two Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, as well as Rep. Adam Smith.
The lawmakers in attendance said their goal remains a “clean” DREAM Act, legislation that would allow Dreamers a pathway to citizenship, something they don’t currently have through DACA.
However, some Republicans and the President have said they want immigration enforcement measures as part of the deal.
"(Dreamers) do not want to be used as a bargaining chip in some sort of legislation where they get the DREAM Act and then there’s more enforcement that pick up family members," said Senator Patty Murray.
“It’s ridiculous to expect that there’s going to be some sort of dramatic border security increase as part of this,” Congresswoman Jayapal told KING 5. “A lot of the Republicans I’ve spoken to just want this to go away. They know it’s not a winning issue to oppose it. Many of them feel really, morally strong about wanting to do something.”
Lawmakers have until next March to come up with a legislative solution, after the Trump administration announced plans to end the Obama era executive order earlier this month, urging Congress to come up with a fix.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program allowed children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents the ability to work and go to school, if approved for the program.
“I came to this country when I was just seven years old. I grew up in South Seattle, and it’s the only place I call home,” said Jose Manuel, a DACA recipient who attended the rally Thursday.
It’s estimated there are 800,000 Dreamers nationwide; more than 17,000 in Washington State.
“We're basically in limbo status. We don't know what's going to happen after my work permit expires,” said Jose Manuel.
“We really don't know what's going to happen,” said Jose Manuel, a DACA recipient who attended the rally Thursday.
“I can't really plan ahead. I was thinking about buying a house; now I don't know if I can do that. All of that has been thrown out the window.”