President Donald Trump’s administration has formally put a halt to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program; they also gave a deadline of just six months to Congress to protect 800,000 unauthorized immigrants, leaving their future hanging in the balance.
I look forward to working w/ D's + R's in Congress to address immigration reform in a way that puts hardworking citizens of our country 1st.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2017
Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do). If they can't, I will revisit this issue!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2017
However, some members from Republican and a majority of the Democratic caucus want to protect “Dreamers” from deportations and losing work permits.
Here are four bills that could help Congress from protecting the DACA recipients.
1. The Dream Act
Under this bill, anyone under the age of 18 who has lived in the US, and has been living in the country for four years will become eligible for a “conditional” permanent residency. They will ultimately have the opportunity to apply for a green card, provided that the person applying is perusing an education, is working and is not involved in any criminal activity.
This bill has a majorly backed by the Democrats, while Senate Republicans Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and Jeff Flake, who are known to favor citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, also support it.
2. The Bridge Act
The Bridge Act — which stands for Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow our Economy — is the congressional equivalent of DACA. The bill was introduced by Republican Representative Mike Coffman, and it simply extends Trump’s six-month deadline to three years, giving Congress more time to come up with a comprehensive solution for the “Dreamers” who are under severe pressure in the current scenario.
However, the bill only buys time; it has no definite path to gaining American citizenship.
"The members of Congress have a choice: They can let the program be phased out and these young people be subject to deportation, or they can sign this petition for the BRIDGE Act," Coffman told The Denver Channel. "The federal government knows where they are, so if there are deportation proceedings, they could be expedited."
3. The RAC Act
The Recognizing America’s Children allows DACA recipients who arrived in the US before turning 16 years of age and have been in the country for at least five years to apply for “conditional” permanent residency.
They can apply for a standard green card to become American citizen after meeting the educational and criminal requirements, like the Dream Act. However, the age limit has been reduced by two years in the RAC Act.
4. The Enlist Act
This bill was introduced by Republican Representative Jeff Denham of California; under this bill “Dreamers” who want to serve in the country’s military have a chance to qualify for citizenship. However this bill, also like the Bridge Act has no defined path towards citizenship. It will only benefit a certain set of people who wants to join the military. But all “dreamers” may not be fit to serve in the military, or simply may not want to join it.
Thumbnail/ Banner Image Credits: Reuters, Kyle Grillot