Top House Dem Says DACA Bill Should Be Passed This Year

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer called for legislation providing safeguards for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients to be passed before year’s end.

President Donald Trump announced in September that he was ending DACA, calling on Congress to craft a legislative solution to the Obama-era initiative, which protects roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation.

“We don’t think we ought to go into next year with a short time frame,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. “There is no reason, not a single, defensible reason why this isn’t done within the next month or two.”

Democrats’ hopes for the passage of a bill providing a path to citizenship for dreamers became increasingly more difficult Sunday, when the Trump administration rolled out a list of immigration priorities far more conservative than the deal discussed during a meeting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Trump at the end of last month. While Democrats face a series of challenges, Hoyer noted that the president previously said lawmakers need to construct a humane fix to the situation.

The Maryland Democrat attributed the push for hard-line reforms — including a request for border-wall funding, the hiring of 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and the implementation of a merit-based immigration system — to White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, adding that the demands may not necessarily fall in line with Trump’s position on the issue.

“President Trump ought to decide what he thinks. He either thinks these are positive folks who ought to be taken care of, which is what he implied in public statements,” Hoyer said. “If you’re going to have them here, they consider themselves to be Americans, we absolutely believe there ought to be a path to citizenship for these young people.”

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