Trump eliminated the DACA program and his incoherent and racist policy positions are propelling the government toward a second shutdown. Bipartisan bills have been introduced in the House and Senate that can resolve the crisis. Speak out publicly in support of DACA, and tell your MoC: no more delays. Support the bipartisan “Phase One” bills and solve the DACA crisis before their time runs out.
Update 2/9: A budget deal passed, extending the deadline until March 23, and laying the groundwork for a massive two-year spending plan. Immigration is expected to move to the Senate floor for debate next week, but what happens in the House remains unclear. We are monitoring the issue closely, and will have updated action and talking points once we learn more. Stay tuned!
Drawing worldwide condemnation for his racist remarks, Trump turned down a popular bipartisan immigration plan and propelled the government into a 3-day shutdown. The shutdown spurred an agreement that delayed the budget deadline until Feb 8, reauthorized CHIP for six years, and assured a vote to resolve DACA. Following the shutdown, the White House released its own immigration framework, which provided a path to citizenship for 1.8 million unauthorized immigrants who came to the country as children in exchange for a $25 billion border wall; shifting diversity visa lottery slots to a merit-based program; and preventing people from sponsoring their parents, adult children, or siblings to immigrate to the US. The plan was met with stiff opposition from both parties as well as from immigration rights advocates. Democrats called the cuts to legal immigration and family unification cruel, and Republicans balked at the generous number of immigrants eligible to earn citizenship. United We Dream activists decried the plan as pitting Dreamers against their parents and other immigrants. This week Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Christopher Coons (D-DE) introduced a bipartisan bill based on the concept of the two phase approach Trump agreed to on Jan. 9, with the first phase resolving DACA and increasing border security, and the second phase tackling comprehensive immigration reform. The McCain-Coons bill mirrors the bipartisan House bill that follows the Phase One approach, HR 4796: the USA Act of 2018 introduced by Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA). The USA Act currently has a sizable bipartisan group of 53 co-sponsors (Pingree and Poliquin are not currently among them). Immigration hardliner Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) has his introduced his own bill, HR 4760, that has amassed 85 co-sponsors, but has not attracted any bipartisan support. Immigrants rights groups like United We Dream continue to call for passage of a clean DREAM Act, but acknowledge that a successful bipartisan solution may take a different path.
[Please note: this action assumes that a DACA resolution will be presented as an individual bill. If it instead gets folded into the budget resolution, we will have a new set of recommendations and talking points.]
- Call or write all three of your Members of Congress (see talking points below).
- Speak out publicly on social media in support of Dreamers. If another shutdown happens, winning the PR battle is incredibly important, and every voice is needed in that effort. SHARE THIS VIDEO that simply and effectively explains what DACA is, and SHARE THIS VIDEO to introduce others to some of the Dreamers at risk.
- Do some Click To Tweeting with help from our friends at United We Dream.
- Most Importantly: Trump created this crisis when he signed the executive order ending the DACA program, and his incoherent and racist statements dashed a popular bipartisan plan and propelled our government into a shut down. Lawmakers from both parties are putting forth good faith efforts to compromise. If the government is once again forced into a shut down, Trump will have only himself to blame.
- Importantly: Any serious effort to provide a solution for the Dreamers must be narrow. Ideally, it should pair the Dream Act with accountable border security. All other issues – good and bad – should be held over to a second round of discussions and debate.
- For Senators: Ask them to support the McCain-Coons bill, and let them know that you still expect them to HOLD THE LINE when it comes to a final budget resolution. Without a DACA fix in place, there can be no budget.
- For House Reps: Ask them to sponsor the Hurd-Aguilar USA Act. Tell Poliquin to OPPOSE HR 4760 if it comes up for vote, and thank Pingree for her vocal opposition.
- Remind them that since Trump killed the DACA program, nearly 17,000 immigrant young people have lost their protection and millions who would be protected from deportation with the Dream Act have no protection at all.
- Tell them that Maine’s economy depends on immigrants, especially for our seasonal agricultural and tourism industries, and that we should increase, not decrease their numbers in our state.
- Tell them to OPPOSE any bill that does not include a path to citizenship for Dreamers and return those who have been deported during this crisis.
- Tell them OPPOSE any bill that defines border security as a physical border wall or increased ICE deportation forces.
- Tell them to OPPOSE any bill that reduces legal immigration or family unification.
- Tell them to OPPOSE all attempts to delay the budget vote further. NO additional continuing resolutions. DACA must be resolved before any budget can pass.