By Bill Parry
More than one in four of the estimated 154,200 immigrants who stand to lose their DACA protection in the next five months did not meet last week’s deadline to apply for renewal, according to statistics from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The Oct. 5 deadline was set last month when the White House announced plans to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals program, which defers deportation for 800,000 young adults who were brought to the United States as children.
The Trump administration said that everyone eligible needed to renew their application at the deadline if they wanted to keep their work permits for an extra two years. If Congress does not pass its own version of DACA by March 5, the program will die, putting its recipients in danger of deportation.
Top congressional Democrats railed against the White House Sunday after the release of the administration’s new immigration principles. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi D-Calif.) warn the hard-line stance could derail such a deal.
“The administration can’t be serious about a compromise or helping the Dreamers if they begin with a list that is anathema to the Dreamers, to the immigrant community and to the vast majority of Americans,” they said in a joint statement.
The administration’s immigration principle includes the funding of a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border, a crackdown on undocumented children being sent to the U.S. border from Central and South America and curbs on federal grants to “sanctuary cities,” like New York, according to documents posted on the White House website.
Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democratic Whip tweeted, “I thought it was Mexico who was supposed to pay for the wall. Now the president tells us it’s the Dreamers.”
Schumer and Pelosi wondered if President Trump was serious about helping Dreamers during their closed-door meeting last month.
“We told the president at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures, but this list goes far beyond what is reasonable,” they said. “This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions weighed in on the administration’s new immigration priorities and offered praise.
“For decades the American people rightly have pleaded with their government for a lawful system of immigration,” Sessions said. “They have asked for secure borders and an immigration system that serves the national interest. Unfortunately, over the last several decades respect for the rule of law has broken down and immigration enforcement has been sacrificed for the sake of political expediency. This has made us less secure and it cannot stand.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr