WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court’s decision not to intervene in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program at this point is giving Congress a reprieve on an issue that has tied up Washington for months.
After the decision was announced Monday, House Speaker Paul Ryan indicated that there is less urgency to address DACA.
“While the Court’s decision appears to have pushed this deadline beyond March, House Republicans are actively working toward a solution,” Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong emailed in a statement.
Congress had been facing a March 5 deadline, imposed by President Donald Trump, to find a permanent solution for DACA recipients before their legal status would expire.
Supreme Court declines to hear 'Dreamers' challenge
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The Trump administration appealed two lower courts’ injunctions that have kept DACA in place to the Supreme Court, but justices wanted the case to continue its journey through the lower courts before they would consider a hearing.
Giving the courts time to finish hearing the case and any subsequent appeals could push back any legislative deadline beyond the November midterm elections.
But it doesn’t mean that the sometimes bitter fight on immigration, which has contributed to a government shutdown this year, is going away.
And Democrats argue that the high court’s decision doesn’t lessen the urgency.
“The need for the Dream Act is no less urgent following the Supreme Court’s decision, which does not change the reality that tens of thousands of Dreamers are losing their work permits and protection from deportation,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “Now it’s up to the president and Republican leaders in Congress to take yes for an answer and accept any of the six bipartisan solutions on the table to save these young people.”
Congress has been unable to find a solution for the 700,000 DACA recipients or the around 1.8 million Dreamers who are eligible.
The Senate failed earlier this month to pass any of a series of proposals that would have given many Dreamers, people brought to the United States by their parents as children, a permanent legal status.
The president’s proposal, which received the least support in the Senate — just 39 votes — would have also included $25 billion in border security, an end to the diversity visa lottery and a massive reduction in legal immigration by limiting family-based immigration. Other, more narrowly tailored bills, received a majority of support, but none garnered the 60 that were necessary to clear Senate procedure.
The House of Representatives has yet to take up its own legislation. Conservatives are pushing legislation by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., that is has been unable to gain the support of enough Republicans to pass. It is even further to the right than Trump’s plan by making DACA recipients reapply for legal status every three years and withholds federal funding for cities that don’t require local law enforcement to notify federal immigration officials of a person’s legal status, also known as sanctuary cities.
“We continue to pursue support for the Goodlatte legislation to address DACA and the underlying causes so we’re not facing this problem again down the line,” Ryan’s spokeswoman, Strong, said in a statement.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said that regardless of the Supreme Court’s reprieve, Republicans should act.
“Republicans’ shameful refusal to take action means that every day, Dreamers are forced to live in limbo, with their well being, futures and status at risk,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus also called on Republicans to bring up a bipartisan bill.
“DACA recipients will continue to face uncertainty until Republicans and Trump can agree to a fair and narrow bipartisan solution for Dreamers,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.