Time is running out for Dreamers — immigrant recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — who will face deportation without an act of Congress.
On Tuesday, Rep. Mia Love joined 31 congressional colleagues to urge Speaker Paul Ryan to prioritize the passage of a legislative solution for DACA recipients before the holidays. It would apply to people who were children when they were brought illegally into the United States.
“Thousands of DACA recipients live and work in my district, contributing to their community daily,” Love said in a prepared statement. “I have no interest in separating them from what is likely the only country they know.”
Love is a co-sponsor of the Recognizing America’s Children (RAC) Act (H.R. 1468), which provides a pathway for DACA recipients to permanently remain in the country.
Also Tuesday, a group of 15, including Dreamers and their supporters, rallied at the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City to urge U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch to enact similar legislation.
There are some 10,500 Dreamers in Utah, said organizer Talitha Nascimento. Of them, 122 are losing their legal status every day.
Tania Ruiz, 24, is a Dreamer who came to this country when she was 5 years old with her mother, father and three sisters. Her parents gave up careers in Mexico and now work at menial, low-wage jobs, she said.
“My hope for the future is for everyone to understand what we have been through,” Ruiz said. “We are people who want to work here. We came to a better place for the American dream.”
DACA allows these undocumented immigrants to go to school, hold a work permit and get a driver license. It also requires they pay taxes. It does not provide a pathway to citizenship and must be renewed every two years.
DACA will make no renewals after March 6, and Love said Congress must act quickly.
“It is crucial that we bring a reasonable solution to the House floor,” Love said, “so we can provide certainty to this Utah population that contributes to our communities and growing economy.”
There are about 800,000 DACA recipients in the United States. To be eligible, applicants must have immigrated by age 16 and lived in the U.S. since June 15, 2007. They had to be 30 or younger when the program was implemented in June 2012.
Hatch was an original sponsor of the Dream Act in 2001, which did not pass but would have allowed undocumented students to pursue an education. In October, he joined a Republican-led effort, known as the SUCCEED Act, that proposes rigorous vetting requirements for young immigrants to “earn the right to citizenship” over a 15-year period.