In the midst of uncertainty over whether Congress would actually move toward a legislative solution to the vacuum left behind after the rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Democratic leaders struck a so-called “deal” with President Donald Trump on Thursday to protect Dreamers from deportation.
The deal, negotiated with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and his House counterpart, Nancy Pelosi, was made with the concession of pushing for enhanced security at the border, but without needing to have funding for the border wall.
After Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the rescission of DACA last week, the ball was effectively handed over to Congress to find a solution to the Dreamers’ plight. This, many felt, was a tall order for a legislative body that had turned down the DREAM Act since it was first proposed in 2001.
The announcement also follows a White House meeting on Wednesday where Trump met with a bipartisan delegation to discuss multiple issues, including the fate of the Dreamers. Among the delegation was Congressman Tom Suozzi, a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act.
“We want to try and keep the ball moving forward to try and get something done, because there’s a lot of anxiety out there. It’s essential that we try and keep this on the front of people’s minds,” Suozzi said Wednesday on a press call. “I’m going to do everything I can to try and find a bipartisan solution.”
Responding to Trump’s push for a merit-based immigration system, Suozzi said he told the president that the bill already takes merit into account, emphasizing protections including for those who have graduated high school; have gone on to higher education; and who have been employed for the past three years.
However, the obvious hurdle to clear for any kind of measure is Republican consensus on the issue, as well. As the New York Times had reported, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that if Trump puts forth a package with “security and enforcement,” most Congress members would support the move “because our members support President Trump.”
Whatever happens, Dreamers still face potential deportation until a solution is actually laid on the table, since some DACA recipients will start losing their status as early as Oct. 5, which is also the deadline for renewal.
According to Reuters, U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis urged Trump on Thursday at a federal court in Brooklyn to extend the deadline.
“No one will be harmed by extending this deadline,” Garaufis said at the hearing, “especially the 800,000 people who are sweating about whether someone is going to come knocking on their door and send them back to a country that they don’t even know and where they don’t speak the language.”