Last week, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) told NBC News, “I am not planning on going home from Washington for any holiday until we take care of the DACA and Dreamer issue. We have made our promise to do that.”
Senator Durbin is right. Congress must act now, not next year. Observers who think that the big deadline facing DACA and Dreamers is March 5th are mistaken. The reason? As Elise Foley captured in a recent HuffPost story, “Trump Can’t Extend DACA. He Already Killed It.” No new DACA applications are being accepted, tens of thousands of current DACAmented youth are already losing their status, and nothing can stop thousands of additional Dreamers from losing the protections afforded by DACA unless Congress enacts legislation such as the Dream Act.
According to America’s Voice Digital Campaigns Manager and DACA recipient Juan Escalante: “Unfortunately, DACA died on September 5th, and we’re just dealing with the remnants of it. President Trump bought into the manufactured crisis manipulated by AG Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller, Texas AG Ken Paxton, and their anti-immigrant allies. Dreamers are already starting to lose their protections and DACA status as a result, meaning that immigrants like myself are on the verge of serving as targets for Trump’s toxic and cruel deportation policies.”
“I am not planning on going home from Washington for any holiday until we take care of the DACA and Dreamer issue. We have made our promise to do that.”
Senator Dick Durbin
Instead of March, the real and substantive DACA deadline has already passed. The arbitrary and unfair October 5th application renewal deadline required more than a quarter of DACA recipients to scramble to re-apply to a new deadline date. The government made no effort to tell DACA beneficiaries of the rushed deadline, conducted no public information campaign, and refused to consider extending the deadline, even for those affected by the hurricanes in Florida and Texas.
According to Ted Hesson at Politico, 86% of DACA recipients who were eligible to renew in this window did so. While this figure may sound good, it means that 22,000 DACA recipients missed the window. Any day now we will start to hear about DACA beneficiaries who are losing jobs, leaving university and being exposed to deportation. This fits the larger goals of the hardliners who created the fake crisis over DACA in the first place. Remember, when announcing the end of the program, the White House even told DACA recipients to “prepare for and arrange their departure from the United States.”
“DACA has been killed off by Trump and Sessions. There are no more new applications or renewal applications,” said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund. “The only thing standing between individual DACA end dates and the risk of deportation is Congress. Senator Durbin has thrown down and we stand with him: Congress cannot go home for the holidays without resolving the crisis created by Trump and Sessions. Dreamers are days away from losing their DACA status, and any new legislation will take many months to stand up. Discussion of action in March is merely an excuse for inaction and a delaying tactic to distract from what needs to happen now, and certainly no later than the end of the year.”