Ohio U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown spoke out today against President Donald Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that gives immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors the opportunity to work.
“President Trump promised to go after violent criminals, not innocent children,” Brown said in a release Tuesday afternoon. “We should not be targeting young people who are working, going to school, paying taxes and contributing to this country – the country they grew up in and the only home they’ve ever known.”
On Tuesday morning, Trump trotted out Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce his decision on DACA.
From the New York Times:
President Trump on Tuesday ordered an end to the Obama-era executive action that shields young undocumented immigrants from deportation and called on Congress to replace the policy with legislation before it fully expires on March 5, 2018.
The government will no longer accept new applications from undocumented immigrants to shield them from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, administration officials announced Tuesday. But officials said about 800,000 current beneficiaries of the program will not be immediately affected by what they called an “orderly wind down” of former President Barack Obama’s policy.
“The program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded,” Mr. Sessions told reporters, adding that “The policy was implemented unilaterally, to great controversy and legal concern.”
The “wind down” period will give U.S. Congress time to act, though it’s totally up-in-the-air if the legislative body will. More from the Times:
The announcement formally started the clock on revoking legal status from those protected under the five-year-old program.
Officials said some of the current immigrants already receiving protection under the Obama-era plan will be able to renew their two-year period of legal status until October 5. But the announcement means that if Congress fails to act, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children could face deportation as early as March to countries where many of them have never lived.
Brown’s release said he supports the DREAM Act. It said he also supported the bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate in 2013 to increase border security and create a path to citizenship for those willing to work for it – like those under the DACA program.
The DREAM Act refers to the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act. It is a legislative proposal for a multi-phase process for qualifying alien minors in the United States that would first grant conditional residency and, upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency.
The bill was first introduced in the U.S. Senate on August 1, 2001, by United States Senators Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and has since been reintroduced several times but has failed to pass.
Brown’s reference to 2013 legislation refers to the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013. It was was a proposed immigration reform bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, and co-sponsored by the other seven members of the “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of U.S.Senators who wrote and negotiated the bill.
If enacted, that bill would have made it possible for many undocumented immigrants to gain legal status and eventually citizenship. It would have increased border security by adding up to 40,000 border patrol agents. It also advances talent-based immigration through a points-based immigration system. New visas have been proposed in this legislation, including a visa for entrepreneurs and a W visa for lower skilled workers. It also proposed new restrictions on H1B visa program to prevent its abuse and additional visas/green-cards for students with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees from U.S. institutions. The bill also included a $1.5 billion youth jobs program and repealed the Diversity Visa Lottery in favor of prospective legal immigrants who are already in the United States.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated the reform bill would have reduced the U.S. fiscal deficit by $197 billion over ten years and by $700 billion by 2033. The Social Security Administration says that the bill, if it became law, would help add $276 billion in revenue over 10 years while costing only $33 billion.
On June 27, 2013, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 68-32 (all 52 Democrats, both Independents, and 14 Republicans voted in favor of the bill). The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives has never acted on the Senate bill.