WASHINGTON D.C. — The March 5 deadline for Congress to find a viable solution for DACA recipients has passed and Fourth Congressional District Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Yakima, is not happy that lawmakers were not able to find a legislative solution before the deadline.
The DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program was initiated via executive order in 2012 by former President Barack Obama. The program allows certain people who entered the country as children and meet a set of requirements to request consideration of deferred action for two years, which is then subject for renewal. In total, about 800,000 people are covered by DACA nationwide, 18,000 of whom live in Washington.
In September the Trump administration announced its plan to phase out DACA in six months time, which gave lawmakers the time to find a legislative solution before Monday’s deadline. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services estimates 154,000 DACA recipients, often referred to as “Dreamers,” had DACA permit expiration dates somewhere between Sept. 5, 2017 and March 5, 2018.
A January decision by a U.S. District Court Judge required the Trump administration to continue accepting DACA renewal requests and similar rulings followed, according to the Associated Press. On Monday a federal judge in Maryland ruled the administration does indeed have the authority to end DACA. Newhouse voiced disapproval over the failure of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to strike a deal on DACA by Monday’s deadline.
“I am disappointed that Congress has failed to implement a legislative solution for DACA recipients by the President’s deadline,” Newhouse said. “I advocated for Congress to act quickly so that DACA beneficiaries would not be left in uncertainty.”
Newhouse has been active and vocal in finding a DACA fix. The second-term congressman has co-sponsored several pieces of legislation concerning DACA recipients and voiced support for the Trump administration's January announcement of an immigration system that would give a path to citizenship for Dreamers, as well as $25 billion for security at the border.
Newhouse is adamant that any law that gets passed should not only include DACA recipients, but funds that secure the border as well.
“Eighteen thousand DACA recipients in Washington state find themselves in continuous legal limbo, and I urge my colleagues to come together to give them certainty,” Newhouse remarked. “Just because federal courts are allowing existing permits to be renewed does not mean that Congress should continue to delay and be subjected to demands from the extremes in this debate. The only solution that can pass Congress – and be signed into law by the President – is one that balances legal certainty for DACA recipients with securing the border.”
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at email@example.com.