Judge Rules Against DACA But Congress Still Has DREAM Act

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was a key federal program protecting Dreamers. (To appease the AP: “Dreamers” are often the title for DACA recipients,  from Sen Dick Durbin’s DREAM Act.)

On Friday, a judge ruled against it, staying the admission of new applicants. This comes after years of Congress sitting on legislation that could avoid this problem.

Activists and DACA recipients march up Broadway during the start of their ‘Walk to Stay Home,’ a five-day 250-mile walk from New York to Washington D.C., to demand that Congress pass a Clean Dream Act, in Manhattan, New York, U.S., February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

These groups have been waiting for years on a path to citizenship, through revolving doors. Today, over 600,000 DACA recipients now face challenges to their status, the question remains.

Where is Congress?

The DREAM Act is one of many pieces of legislation that so often finds a challenge in the Senate. Since its inception, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois has brought it to the Senate Floor.  In every session, along with attempts to improve immigration processes in the United States, Senate Democrats have pressed on this issue.

As Presidents and judges have come and gone, DACA has been a revolving door. Its status as a federal program has been a point of contention, with some believing that it shouldn’t exist at all.

Even though it serves a population nearly the size of DC that have lived their lives in the United States. 

Dreamers hold jobs, space, and pay taxes in their communities. Yet federal executive and judicial voices continue to be the only players. DACA recipients still don’t hold a path to citizenship and renewal in the program only ensures that they won’t be deported.

Senators have pointed to the need for DACA recipients; Dreamers to find codification in law.

Moving forward, they need access to full citizenship, along with the rights and privileges that some resident aliens achieve after living in the US for 3 years.

Moreover, my reporting has pointed to one thing every time: Dreamers need the protection of federal legislation. Changing administrations and judicial appointments can be detrimental to an executive program or any executive action.

Federal legislation, however, can consistently have a long-term impact on DACA recipients. With a bill, legal challenges shift from questions of executive authority.

It doesn’t offer holistic protection — some thought the Voting Rights Act would make it through the Supreme Court — but it does offer some.

Ana Navarro said it best: “It’s way past time for Congress to show some damn [backbone] and act!”