HomeAsian AmericansDACA is not a bargaining chip, say Asian American lawmakers, immigration advocates

DACA is not a bargaining chip, say Asian American lawmakers, immigration advocates

DACA ProtestViews from the Edge

When Donald Trump decided to end the program for the Dreamers, he essentially punted to Congress asking them to come up with legislation by the end of the year, supposedly to protect the undocumented young people. Now, it looks like GOP-controlled Congress is going to fumble.

Following a meeting at the White House with Republican anti-immigrant conservatives this week, it was reported that the administration will not include a fix for undocumented youth in the government spending bill. Senators are working on a package to include increased border security and changes to our immigration system that they expect to be ready in January or February.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), a daughter of immigrants, became the first Senate Democrat to publicly vow to oppose any government funding bill unless Congress takes action to protect the 800,000 Dreaers rendered newly vulnerable by President Donald Trump.

“I will not vote for an end-of-year spending bill until we are clear about what we are going to do to protect and take care of our DACA young people in this country,” Harris said at a press conference. “Each day in the life of these young people is a very long time, and we’ve got to stop playing politics with their lives.”

When Trump decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, he put the lives of 800,000 beneficiaries, called Dreamers, in limbo.

“It is reprehensible that the President is now attempting to use these young people as bargaining chips to advance his anti-immigrant agenda.,” said Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus of Washington legislators.

“As I have previously stated, any effort to attach poison pills that would curtail our legal immigration system and fund an ineffective border wall are complete non-starters for the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

“The White House should not play politics with the lives of our nation’s Dreamers. If the bipartisan, bicameral DREAM Act were brought to the floor today, it would have the votes to pass. I urge my Republican colleagues to do the right thing and allow us to vote on a clean DREAM Act before Congress adjourns in December.”

The White House wants to implement a more restrictive immigration policy that would cut legal immigration in half giving preference to those who already speak English or those who have skills in short supply in the U.S.

And there’s that damn wall, Trump wants to build only on the southern border, leaving the Canadian border wide open.

Congress cannot start muddying the waters with white supremacist proposals,” said the civil rights advocates of Asian Americans Advancing Justice in a statement. Congress must pass a clean DREAM Act before it recesses for the holidays. The administration’s move to end DACA put these immigrant youth at risk unnecessarily. As a result, undocumented youth are facing a crisis now.

Cutting family immigration is a direct attack on our communities and other communities of color. Two-thirds of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are immigrants, and 92 percent of Asian Americans are immigrants or the children of immigrants. The vast majority of Asian immigrants have come to the U.S. through the family-based immigration system.

“I have a simple message for President Trump and congressional Republicans: There is no other deal to be made besides passing a clean Dream Act before the end of the year and protecting the 1.5 million young people eligible for relief who had the floor taken out from under them,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-WA and CAPAC Immigration Task Force chair.

“Shamefully, while the futures of these young people hang in the balance, President Trump and his accomplices in Congress are doing nothing but pursuing immigration policies straight from the wishlists of white supremacists.”

Following through with Trump’s proposed immigration policies signals a return to the racist origins of our country’s anti-immigrant past.,” said AAAJ. “The White House shouldn’t play politics with more than a million undocumented people’s lives.”
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