Democrats push for DACA amnesty in lame duck session before GOP House takes over

Democrats and immigration activists want to get some form of amnesty for illegal immigrants through Congress in the lame duck session before losing the House to Republicans in early 2023.

Senators and activists held a press conference Wednesday urging Republicans in the chamber to work with Democrats to pass a version of the DREAM bill that would grant recipients (and other beneficiaries) of the deferred action for child arrivals ( DACA) program.

This program, launched by President Barack Obama in 2012, provided protection from deportation for millions of illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children. The program was recently dealt a blow when an appeals court upheld a 2021 ruling that prevented further filing, which turned out to be illegal.

While it doesn’t affect the roughly 700,000 already enrolled, the ruling has fueled new efforts for a permanent “fix”. However, the DREAM Act would go beyond that 700,000, with proponents estimating it could open a path to citizenship for approximately two million people.

REP. BANKS SAYS GOP MUST ‘DO EVERYTHING WE CAN’ TO BLOCK AMNESTY AFTER SCHUMER REPEATS THE PUSH

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., claimed that granting amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants would solve America's low birth rate crisis.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., claimed that granting amnesty to 11 million illegal immigrants would solve America’s low birth rate crisis.
(Screenshot/Twitter)

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said time is running out for legislation as Republicans take control of the House and called for action after the Thanksgiving break.

“We know it’s important that we get the DREAM Act passed in December – December of this year, when we return from Thanksgiving – because when the House moves, as we suspect politically, it’s going to be increasingly difficult after the first of the year take up topic. We have to do it now and for that we need bipartisan support in the Senate,” Durbin said.

Durbin said there are four or five Republicans who would support it, but Democrats need “10 Republicans to join us and join this effort” to overcome a filibuster.

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However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that while the short-term goal is the DREAM Act, the ultimate goal is much broader, but that would await the next Senate.

“We have a population that isn’t reproducing at the same level it used to be,” Schumer said. “The only way we’re going to have a great future in America is if we welcome and embrace immigrants, the dreamers and them all, because our ultimate goal is to help the dreamers, but a path to citizenship for all.” Finding 11 million or how many undocumented people there are here, and that’s what we’re going to pursue in the next Senate.

“Right now, our focus is on dreamers.”

Immigration advocates gather to urge Congress to pass permanent protections for DACA recipients and create a path to citizenship near the US Capitol June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC

Immigration advocates gather to urge Congress to pass permanent protections for DACA recipients and create a path to citizenship near the US Capitol June 15, 2022 in Washington, DC
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The press conference coincided with a push by interest groups on Capitol Hill. FWD.us, an advocacy group founded by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, said in a press release that “Hundreds of attorneys and DACA recipients from across the country flew to Washington, DC to meet with over 100 members of Congress.” to call for legislation to be passed .

That comes after a coalition of business leaders from companies including Apple, Amazon, Target, Meta, Starbucks and the US Chamber of Commerce last month urged congressional leaders to “pass legislation on this issue quickly.”

How the Republicans will react is still unclear. While a number of Republican senators have long expressed interest in a deal that implements border security measures in exchange for some form of DACA legislation, it so happens that the US is in the midst of a massive border hike that Republicans have said is necessary be established before avenues to citizenship can be discussed.

In FY2022 there were more than 2.3 million encounters with migrants and over 230,000 in October alone. Republicans have hammered the Biden administration for its handling of the crisis, accusing it of incentivising illegal immigration. Previous Democrat amnesty efforts at various levels during the Biden administration have failed to garner Republican support.

If a deal doesn’t materialize by January, Republican control of the House of Representatives could derail any potential deal. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy has repeatedly promised there will be “no amnesty” with a Republican House.

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This week, Republican Studies Committee Chairman Jim Banks told Fox News Digital Republicans must do “everything we can” to ensure no amnesty of any kind is passed.

“Democrats were afraid to push the amnesty before the midterms because it’s extremely unpopular,” Banks said after the Democrats’ press briefing. “But they have calculated that by 2024 the amnesty will be a thing of the past, and they are counting on the millions of new voters who will reciprocate.”



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