Immigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border security

Immigration groups press for pairing Dreamer benefits with border security

Originally Published in USA Today.

Originally Published in The Hill.

BY RAFAEL BERNAL 

02/11/19

 Immigration proponents, including more than 50 "Dreamers," are scheduled to converge on Capitol Hill this week to press lawmakers on supporting border security measures paired with protections for immigrants. Dozens of immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as minors will join GOP Reps. Will Hurd (Texas) and Dan Newhouse (Wash.) at a news conference Wednesday as part of an immigration push that's sponsored by three Koch Network groups — the Libre Initiative, Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Partners — and two immigration advocacy groups, FWD.us and the National Immigration Forum. 

The five groups have long argued the need for a permanent immigration status solution for Dreamers, saying the periodical status renewals complicate long-term planning. President Trump started to draw down the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in September 2017. His order has been tied up in the courts. Hurd and Newhouse were among a group of Republican lawmakers last year who attempted to craft a bipartisan solution that would replace DACA, which allows Dreamers to live and work freely in the United States. The bipartisan proposal, penned by Hurd and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), was ultimately scrapped in favor of a more conservative bill that GOP leaders argued would have a better chance of passing the Republican-led Senate and gaining Trump's backing. That measure failed to make it out of the House. Newhouse's district in central Washington is home to more DACA recipients than any other Republican district in the country. Hurd, an outspoken opponent of a border wall, represents the only GOP district that borders Mexico. The new Democratic majority in the House has pledged to work toward protections for Dreamers and other law-abiding immigrants, but there has been little interest in pairing immigration benefits with Trump's call for a border wall. Leaders in both parties are scrambling to come up with a border security agreement, as a bipartisan, bicameral conference tries to avert a second government shutdown this year over Homeland Security funding.

unitedwestay

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