Democrats and immigration activists hope to pass some amnesty for illegal immigrants during the lame-duck session of Congress before they lose the House to Republicans at the start of 2023. A press conference held by senators and activists on Wednesday called on Republicans in Congress to work with Democrats to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide citizenship to illegals who signed up and qualified for DACA, also known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
This program, introduced by President Barack Obama in 2012, offered minors who illegally entered the United States protection from deportation. A recent blow was delivered to the program when an appeals court maintained a 2021 judgment prohibiting additional enrollments, deemed unlawful.
While the verdict does not impact the roughly 700,000 people already registered, it has prompted new calls for a permanent “fix.” However, advocates for the DREAM Act estimate that it might provide a road to citizenship for about two million individuals.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, stated that time was running out to approve the legislation and urged action following the Thanksgiving holiday. We are aware that it is crucial to enact the DREAM Act in December, when we return from Thanksgiving, because if the House moves, as we believe it could politically, it becomes very difficult to take up this matter after January. Durbin added that Congress must act immediately, and to do so; we need bipartisan support in the Senate.
According to Durbin, four or five Republicans might support it, but the Democrats need ten Republicans to join us in this attempt to overcome a filibuster.
On the other hand, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that while the DREAM Act was the short-term objective, the ultimate objective was far larger, but it would have to wait until the next Senate.
Schumer stated that the U.S. population is no longer reproducing at the same rate as it used to. The ultimate goal is to assist the dreamers and obtain citizenship for all 11 million or more illegal immigrants here. And we will pursue this in the upcoming Senate. Schumer shared that the current concentration is on dreamers.
The news appearance coincided with a campaign on Capitol Hill by advocacy organizations. FWD.us, a lobbying organization founded by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, stated in a press release that hundreds of advocates and DACA participants from throughout the country went to Washington, D.C. to speak with over one hundred members of Congress to encourage passage of legislation.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce and corporate leaders from Apple, Amazon, Target, Meta, and Starbucks urged lawmakers to vote on the legislation as quickly as possible. The unknown is how Republicans will respond. Several Republican senators have expressed interest in a deal involving border security and DACA legislation for a long time. Still, the U.S. is currently seeing a massive border surge, which Republicans have stated must be resolved before discussing pathways to citizenship.
More than 2,300,000 migrants were encountered in the fiscal year 2022, including more than 230,000 in October alone. Republicans have criticized the Biden administration’s response to the problem, accusing it of encouraging illegal immigration. During the Biden administration, prior Democratic attempts at varying levels of amnesty failed to win Republican support.
If there is no agreement by January, the Republican control of the House could doom any future agreement. Kevin McCarthy, leader of the Republican caucus in the House, has repeatedly said there will be “no amnesty” with a Republican majority.
According to Republican Study Committee Chair Jim Banks, the party must “do everything possible” to prevent any kind of amnesty from passing.
Democrats had feared pushing amnesty before the midterm elections because it is so unpopular, Banks remarked following the Democratic news conference.