NAICU Washington Update

Immigration Reform Fails in House Leaving Status of DACA/Dreamers Uncertain

June 29, 2018

Legislative action in the U.S. House of Representatives has left the immigration status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the larger Dreamer population in limbo. Two separate bills that would have addressed the DACA and Dreamer immigration status of these individuals were recently voted down. 

First, the House voted down the Securing America’s Future Act (H.R. 4760), sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), by a 193-231 vote.  The Goodlatte bill would have extended the DACA program for three years with the option to renew status, but would not have provided a separate path to citizenship outside of the current green card process. 

Then, the following week, the House also voted down the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act (H.R. 6136), sponsored by House leadership, by a 121-301 vote.  This legislation would have extended DACA for six years with the option to renew status.  H.R. 6136 also would have created a new merit-based visa lottery program that would have assisted DACA registrants and Dreamers who qualified with an expedited path to citizenship. 

Both bills failed because of disagreement over issues unrelated to DACA and Dreamers, like border wall funding, increased enforcement measures, and new limits on legal immigration.

The higher education community sent comments to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) on June 20 urging a bipartisan solution to the tenuous immigration status of DACA/Dreamers. 

In February, the Senate was also unable to pass similar immigration legislation.  Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said he would not consider further immigration legislation in the Senate unless the House successfully passed a bill that President Trump indicated he would sign.

Congress is unlikely to revisit these bills and the numerous different immigration issues any time soon.  Any immediate solution will have to come through the court system.

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