DACA Decision Gets Mixed Republican Reponses

The second-highest- ranking senator in Congress Orrin Hatch, R-UT, at CPAC 2011.
(Unmodified photo by Gage Skidmore used under a Creative Commons license. http://bit.ly/1jxQJMa)

Despite vocal resistance from both sides of the aisle, on September 5, President Trump decided to end the DACA program, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which temporarily protected roughly 800,000 young illegal immigrants from deportation.

This highly controversial Obama-era executive decision allowed illegal immigrants to apply for a two-year renewable deferral from being considered for deportation and to apply for work authorization.

The creation of this program disgruntled some Congressional GOP members as it avoided congressional intervention and regulation.

The removal of the program has had a similar effect on the party. On September 5, the White House via Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the DACA program will end on March 5, 2018.

This is also the deadline for Congress to create a permanent replacement for immigration policy.

The decision came after eleven attorneys general informed the White House in June, that they planned to sue the Trump administration if they did not initiate the process of ending DACA by September 5.

In a statement on the day of the decision White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, said Congress “just came back from a three-week vacation. I think that they should be rested and ready to take on some big challenges that America faces.”

GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, while opposed to the initial creation of the program, did not support the executive decision to its end, saying “there are people who are in limbo. These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home.”

He did add that he is optimistic about the opportunity to construct a proper, congressional solution for the issue.

Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, R-UT, urged the President to maintain the DACA program until a more sustainable solution is brought to force by Congress.

In a statement, Hatch said “like the president, I’ve long advocated for tougher enforcement of our existing immigration laws. But we also need a workable, permanent solution for individuals who entered our country unlawfully as children through no fault of their own and who have built their lives here.”

Similar sentiments were shared by Mike Coffman, a Republican Representative from Colorado.

Representative Coffman shared that he plans to use the decision to get a vote on the Bridge Act, a bipartisan bill which would give those eligible for work authorization under DACA immunity from deportation with permission from the federal government.

Senator Lindsey Graham,R-S.C., is currently sponsoring a similar bill in the Senate. According to Representative Coffman, the bill could bypass committee review with the support of all House Democrats and 23 House Republicans.

Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said “it is important that the White House clearly outline what kind of legislation the president is willing to sign. We have no time to waste on ideas that do not have the votes to pass or that the president won’t sign.”

With the 2018 election cycle rapidly approaching, representatives in swing districts throughout the country with high levels of immigrants quickly responded to the decision by claiming that they would be striving to seek federal protection for those affected by the end of DACA.

The list of Representatives includes Representatives David Valadao, R-Calif.; Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.; Will Hurd, R-TX; Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.; Jeff Denham, R-Calif.; and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla.

Not all GOP lawmakers find fault with President Trump’s decision to rescind DACA. Iowa Representative Steve King, a notorious immigration hardliner, tweeted out that “ending DACA now gives [us a] chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide.”

Time will reveal the fate of the DREAMERs, those protected under DACA, but according to a study by the progressive policy institute Center for American Progress 1,400 current DACA participants will lose their status everyday once the program is officially terminated.

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