On Tuesday morning, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which shielded around 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation. Defending the move as a legal decision, Sessions noted that the rollback would be delayed six-months — during which members of Congress could pass a more permanent fix.
While the White House has left the fate of hundreds of thousands of young people up to Congress, lawmakers seem unprepared to act.
Just nine Republicans in Congress currently support a clean legislative fix of DACA. Most Republicans are willing to support continued protections for DREAMers only if it is paired with other legislative measures, such as a border wall. This would mean Congress would have to pass some form of broader immigration reform — a task they have failed to accomplish repeatedly over the last decade.
Here are the nine Republican members of Congress who support a DACA fix through legislative action:
“It should be evident from the fear and confusion surrounding #DACA that executive actions have a short-shelf life…and are a poor substitute for permanent, bipartisan legislation to fix our broken immigration system. The ball is back in Congress’ court where it belongs, and there are a lot of innocent kids counting on Congress to do its job. Congress must act immediately to pass permanent, stand-alone legislation to lawfully ensure that children who were brought here…by their parents, through no fault of their own, are able to stay and finish their education and continue to contribute to society.”
“Today, the administration announced it will phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Immigration policy must be set through legislation addressing the legal status of undocumented children. POTUS is giving Congress time to fulfill its responsibility and take long-term action on the uncertainty for undocumented children. Undocumented children were brought to America through no fault of their own. My legislation will provide a fair and rigorous path for undocumented children to earn legal status. The path to earn legal status would require them to be employed, pursue higher education, or serve in our military. This commonsense legislative fix can and should unite members of Congress. I’ll work closely with my colleagues on the path forward. It’s up to my Dem colleagues to decide on a permanent solution or make it a political wedge issue. I hope they choose bipartisanship.”
“Over the years, immigrant children have arrived in our country — brought by their parents who either crossed one of our borders or overstayed their visas. For most of these young people, the United States is the only country they have ever called home. These children have attended school with our own children, worship at our churches, and grow up seeking to serve in our military, pursue a degree in higher learning, or contribute to our workforce and economy. These are America’s children and they should not have to live in constant fear of being deported to their parents’ homeland, a place many of them have no connection to or memories of living in. The Administration’s decision reinforces what we have known for some time — Congress must take action to provide a fair and permanent solution for these young immigrants. The Recognizing America’s Children Act I introduced earlier this year would not only give peace of mind to hundreds of thousands across the country but also help grow our economy and create new jobs. It’s also just the right thing to do. I encourage the President to focus on deporting criminals, not enforcement that divides families. But more importantly, I urge all my Congressional colleagues who want to help these young people – all thoroughly vetted – to support responsible immigration policies like the RAC Act, and I call on Leadership to bring it to the Floor for a vote. To all Americans who have it in their hearts to do something for these innocent young people, call your representatives and Congressional leaders and tell them the time to do the right thing is now.”
“This decision by the administration to end DACA and shut down the dreams of young immigrants is heartbreaking, reckless and wrong. For too long, Dreamers have been living with fear and unable to plan for their futures. DACA was necessary to provide a migratory safe harbor and it is cruel to take away the opportunities to work and go to school currently afforded to them. I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to find a permanent legislative solution that protects DREAMers so that our nation does not lose this treasure trove of young people who only truly know and love the United States as their home. I call on my Congressional colleagues to debate and vote on the DREAM Act that Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard and I have presented or on one of the many bills proposed, such as the RAC Act or BRIDGE Act, to help Dreamers achieve permanence and certainty.”
“I have introduced the #BRIDGEAct in Congress to protect #DACA recipients. When I return to D.C., I will file a discharge petition to force a floor vote on the #BRIDGEAct. #DACA participants grew up here, went to school here, and should be allowed to stay here. The time has come to take action.”
“Like many of my colleagues I agree that President Obama exceeded his Constitutional authority and disregarded existing law to implement his plan for undocumented immigrants. Today President Trump has called on Congress to act and rightfully so. To this end, I am cosponsoring legislation that would provide a workable, permanent legislative solution for those individuals who entered our country unlawfully as children with their undocumented parents. Over the coming weeks I intend to work closely with my colleagues and the Administration to pass meaningful immigration reforms that will secure our borders, strengthen employment verification and provide a workable path for ‘Dreamers’ with DACA status.”
“In light of the imminent deadline to phase out DACA, it’s more critical than ever for Congress to act & pass the #RACact.”
“If President Trump chooses to cancel the DACA program and give Congress six months to find a legislative solution, I will be supportive of such a position. I have always believed DACA was presidential overreach. However, I equally understand the plight of the Dream Act kids who — for all practical purposes — know no country other than America. If President Trump makes this decision we will work to find a legislative solution to their dilemma. I have introduced legislation to solve this problem along with Senator Durbin. I look forward to working with President Trump and my colleagues in Congress to find a fair solution to this difficult problem.”
“America is a nation of laws, and it is the sole responsibility of Congress to create and pass legislation. President Obama bypassed Congress when he originally created the program, but in so doing, he offered a pathway for these individuals to get right with the law. In 2015, I voted to support DACA because I believe these children, who only know America to be their home, deserve an opportunity to be here legally. With that said, Congress now has an opportunity to act on immigration reform and we have the support here to do it. As a cosponsor of H.R. 1468, the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act, it is my hope that the House will consider this legislation, sponsored by my friend and colleague Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), so we can act on this important issue sooner rather than later. It’s critical that we act on a permanent, legislative solution that allows these immigrants, individuals who have come out of the shadows and contributed to our society and economy, to stay here legally.”
This post will be updated as more responses arrive.