WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — With their future uncertain, recipients of a federal program for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children are calling on Congress to push past gridlock and act to help them.
Last week, an appeals court ruled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for legal status unlawful, though a stay was issued as the case was sent back to the district court for more consideration. For now, the government may not accept new applications on the program, which already has hundreds of thousands of recipients.
“We are in a moment of great urgency,” Greisa Martinez Rosas, the executive director of United We Dream immigration advocacy group, said.
“It’s our responsibility to do everything we can,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said during a virtual news conference Tuesday.
He vowed to pressure Republicans to pass legislation that would permanently codify the program.
“We need them to come around,” he said of Republicans.
Democrats need 10 Senate Republicans to join them to pass a bill to protect DACA recipients, but Durbin said that only four are currently ready to act. One of them is Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
“Durbin knows that I’m one that wants to sit down and do something on DACA,” Grassley said.
He said protecting recipients is a no-brainer.
“Because the DACA kids were brought here by their parents,” he explained. “The kids didn’t violate our laws.”
Grassley said any solution must be linked to reforms to combat illegal immigration.
“Five, six, seven thousand people cross the river every day to enter our country against our laws,” he said, “and it’s poisoned the whole debate.”
Durbin said Democrats will attempt to pass protections after the midterm elections.