GOP Lawmakers Weigh In on DACA

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President Donald Trump

President Trump is expected to announce the roll back of a key Obama-era deportation relief program Tuesday, and congressional lawmakers have already pledged to offer a way out to the thousands of DACA recipients, aka Dreamers.

Trump plans to end the program but offers a six-month window for Congress to act. DACA critics have said ever since its passage that a president doesn’t have the authority to pass such legislation.

Under the program, illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors were shielded from deportation and given work permits. DACA’s looming termination sparked bipartisan support for the program.

Surprisingly, many Republicans think Trump should not end the program, but they agree that the former administration did not have the authority to create it in the first place.

On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) conceded that the program had been a presidential overreach, but pledged to help the “Dream Act kids who – for all practical purposes – know no country other than America.” Sens. Graham and Dick Durbin introduced a bill in July that would grant DACA kids legal status and even citizenship.

DACA Calls for Permanent Solution Only Congress Can Give

House Speaker Paul Ryan criticized Trump for dismantling the program but added that Congress should “fix” DACA. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has urged the President to leave the program in place. He thinks that killing the program would just complicate an area in urgent need of a legislative solution.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)  is confident the six-month delay will give Congress plenty of time to pass a more permanent legislation. He also thinks that broader protections for immigrants should be included in the House version of DACA.

Other GOP congressmen believe Congress should also focus on enforcing federal immigration laws and illegal immigration while it tries to solve the DACA problem. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) agrees that illegal immigrants should face the consequences of entering the country illegally, but added that children should not be held accountable for the actions of their parents.
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