WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following last week’s historic Supreme Court ruling rejecting President Donald Trump’s repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin joined her Democratic colleagues, led by Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), in calling on President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to end the cruel attempts to deport DACA recipients, or Dreamers, and immediately take up the bipartisan House-passed American Dream and Promise Act, which establishes a path to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED).
“Putting in place the DACA program was right, and President Trump’s attempt to end this protection for Dreamers was wrong. The Supreme Court decision does right by Dreamers working, going to school, serving in our military and making our country stronger,” said Senator Baldwin. “We now need to take action in the Senate to protect Dreamers who have only known America as their home, and provide them the opportunity to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship. Now is the time for the Senate to step up and lead by passing the bipartisan Dream and Promise Act.”
In their letter to Leader McConnell, the Senators noted that with Republicans in the majority, the Senate has failed to address our nation’s immigration challenges. In the 116th Congress, the Border Security and Immigration Subcommittee has held only one hearing; the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted on only one immigration bill – the Trump Administration’s anti-asylum bill – and the Republican majority limited debate to only one hour and did not allow a single amendment to be offered; and McConnell has not brought a single immigration bill to the floor of the Senate.
The full letter to Leader McConnell is available here.
In their letter to President Trump, Baldwin and colleagues noted that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 200,000 DACA recipients are working in occupational areas that the Trump Administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identifies as part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” This includes an estimated 41,700 DACA recipients working in the health care industry, including physicians and physicians in training, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants and health technicians.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, President Trump tweeted, “I have wanted to take care of DACA recipients better than the Do Nothing Democrats, but for two years they refused to negotiate.” In fact, the President has rejected numerous bipartisan deals to protect Dreamers. For example, on January 11, 2018, in a meeting in the Oval Office, he rejected a bipartisan immigration agreement that included protection for Dreamers. On February 15, 2018, the Senate considered a bipartisan amendment offered by Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Angus King (I-ME), which included a path to citizenship for Dreamers. A bipartisan majority supported the amendment, but it failed to reach the 60 votes needed to pass because the Trump Administration issued a statement of opposition. On the same day, the Senate rejected the President’s immigration proposal by a bipartisan supermajority of 39-60.
The full letter to President Trump is available here.
Baldwin voted to pass the Dream Act in 2013 as part of the comprehensive immigration reform bill that Senators Durbin and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) coauthored with the “Gang of Eight” – four Democrats and four Republicans. The 2013 bill passed the Senate on a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32, but the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives refused to consider it.