WASHINGTON – Immigration advocates, including more than 50 “DREAMers,” are on Capitol Hill this week to press lawmakers to support protections for immigrants along with border security.
The DREAMers are immigrants who arrived in the country illegally as children. Their biggest sponsors are two Republicans.
Bernardo is a DREAMer. His parents moved to the U.S. illegally when he was six-years-old.
“I only learned I was undocumented when I was 16 and tried to apply for a driver’s license,” he says.
But because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA, Bernardo was able to graduate from college in the U.S.
“I have a job lined up, but without a permanent resolution for DREAMers, my future is uncertain,” he adds.
Bernardo says 1.2 million DREAMers are facing a nightmare, not knowing if they will be deported. And, he says their best bet to make sure that doesn’t happen are two Republican lawmakers.
Republicans Will Hurd and Dan Newhouse are calling on their colleagues to create a permanent legislation fix for DACA.
“A missed opportunity to finally put this issue behind us,” says Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA).
“Why was a DACA fix taken off the table during these current negotiations?,” asks Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX).
They say Congress dropped the ball this week by not including DACA in the border security deal lawmakers introduced to avoid another government shutdown on Friday.
Hurd says he is working with Republicans and Democrats to introduce legislation that would give DREAMers full and permanent protection.
“These people are already Americans and let’s make sure we streamline that process,” says Hurd.
Hurd says the Democratic majority House will eventually pass a law to help the DREAMers. He says the real challenge will be winning over his fellow Republicans in the Senate.