Saturday, June 20, 2020

Time to Eliminate DACA

On Thursday, the Supreme Court stopped President Trump’s move to rescind DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), a policy announced by President Obama on June 15, 2012. Reflecting a 5–4 vote, the Supreme Court ruling only said the Trump administration acted improperly when it terminated the program, by not adhering to the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act.

Writing the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said the court considered “only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action” and concluded it failed to do so. This ruling, while positive, leaves the door open for the Department of Homeland Security to resume its effort by beefing up the argument for rescinding DACA.

A permanent resolution to the DACA limbo lies with Congress passing legislation — assuming the president signs it or Congress overrides a veto — providing permanent legal residence and a path to citizenship for those in the DACA program. As the House passed legislation last June (the American Dream and Promise Act of 2019), the responsibility falls to the Senate.

To encourage Senate action, I sent the following letter to Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, and a slightly modified version to Republican senators Susan Collins (Maine), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Mitt Romney (Utah).

Subject: Legal Status and Path to Citizenship for DACA Participants

While the Supreme Court’s ruling this week provides a reprieve for those who have enrolled in the DACA program, the decision does not provide a permanent solution for the children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents and grew up here —most now strengthening American society.

It’s time for Congress to pass legislation to provide those participating in DACA with legal residency and a path to U.S. citizenship, ending their Kafkaesque limbo.

As you know, the House of Representatives passed the Dream and Promise Act last June, one year ago. The Senate must now act — and do so before President Trump marshals a renewed effort to address the Supreme Court’s concerns and rescind DACA. In your role as Majority Leader, you have the responsibility to put this on the Senate’s agenda.

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