NAICU Washington Update

Status of DACA Students Remains in Limbo

February 23, 2018

The fate of the DACA program hangs in the balance after the Senate failed to produce bipartisan legislation that would protect DACA registrants, and the larger Dreamer population.  In a series of recent votes, a number of Senate bills and amendments were voted down during a tense week of negotiating.  Included in those bills and amendments were other immigration issues, such as border enforcement, funding for a wall, and employment verifications, which added to the difficulties in reaching a solution. 

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has indicated he will offer a last ditch proposal with a DACA fix and border security measures, but no additional provisions.  The timing and outlook for that effort is unclear.  If the Flake proposal fails after the collapse of the recent efforts in the Senate, and with no bipartisan plan in sight in the House, it’s looking less likely that a deal will be reached and signed by the President prior to March 5th, when the DACA program will cease to exist.

While two federal judges recently issued rulings to halt the rescission of the DACA program, those orders could be overturned by the Supreme Court on the basis that a program that was created by executive order by President Obama could be ended by President Trump.  This would once again throw the only hope of a permanent solution back to Congress.

Unless there is renewed interest in trying again before March 5, the next likely moment to continue the immigration debate would be around the expiration of the current Continuing Resolution (CR) that is keeping the government funded through March 23.  However, the Democrats tried to use the specter of a government funding shut down over immigration in January, and it failed to benefit them politically, making interest in using the upcoming expiration of a CR to push the issue less appealing.

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