White House officials told key Republican Congressional leaders this week that President Trump would be open to extending DACA in exchange for a border wall funding if included in the omnibus spending bill being crafted to meet next week’s deadline, according to the Washington Post.
But just a few hours after the Post published its story yesterday, a White House spokesperson said the president wants a border wall funded, but that it shouldn’t be tied to a solution for DACA recipients, known as Dreamers. What’s more, several members of Congress—both Democrats and Republicans—gave the DACA-extension-for-wall funding deal a lukewarm reception.
Congress has until March 23 to draft an omnibus spending bill that reflects the two-year federal budget approved last month by Congress and President Trump. If lawmakers fail to agree on a spending bill by that date, the government will shut down for the third time this year.
Dreamers in Limbo
Dreamers have been in limbo since the Trump administration announced last September it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—or DACA—program on March 5. Congress failed to pass immigration legislation last month providing Dreamers with protection from deportation or a path to citizenship.
Still, the administration’s plan to completely end the program this month failed. Two federal court judges ordered the administration to maintain DACA by accepting renewal applications. Without waiting for the courts of appeal to rule on the lower court decisions, the administration appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to end DACA. However, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, meaning the lower court rulings stand—for now.
If the DACA-for-wall deal goes forward, it would represent a significant step back by the Trump administration from its original demands to limits immigration. In addition to providing Dreamers a path to citizenship and funding a border wall, the administration sought to:
- Slash family immigration—or chain migration—by eliminating green cards for all family members except spouses and children under the age of 18. That amounts to eliminating about 500,000 family green cards annually.
- Increase funding for more immigration law enforcement personnel, attorneys, judges, and prosecutors.
- Eliminate the Diversity Immigrant Visa program, also known as the visa lottery.
The Alcorn Immigration Law team is monitoring the latest immigration policy developments that impact Dreamers and the DACA program. We continue to urge:
- Dreamers to file DACA renewal applications.
- Both those with and without DACA protection should explore possible options for remaining legally in the U.S.
- U.S. citizens eligible to sponsor parents and other family members for green cards to do so while they still can.
We Can Help
The Alcorn Immigration Law team firmly believes immigration leads to innovation. If you are a Dreamer or have an employee, or a loved one who needs assistance, please contact us.