Can the US Congress save the 800,000 DREAMers in just six months?

by Alexander O. Onukwue

The announcement of the scrapping of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy on Tuesday by the Trump Administration set in motion a timeline for the US Congress to enact legislation on the issue of undocumented immigrants in the USA.

After DACA was officially rescinded, US President, Donald Trump, tweeted: “Congress, Get Ready to Do your job – DACA!”

Issuing challenges to the legislature via tweets ending in exclamation marks have not exactly worked for Trump so far with the repeated urgings to his Republican Senators to get him a repeal and replacement of Obamacare ending in embarrassing failure.

Choosing to announce the end of DACA before his next push on tax cuts appears to be a deliberate strategy by the Trump White House to have a kind of bargaining chip for its interests. However, the US Congress has tried in the past and failed to come up with a workable bi-partisan immigration bill that is acceptable by both sides. President Obama, in 2012, chose to go ahead with an executive order to create DACA out of the frustration of receiving nothing from the Capitol Hill.

The legality of the continued stay in the US of about 800,000 persons now hang in the balance, and it will now be up to the US Congress to save them. Many CEOs of top American companies have started rallying the legislature to get the right thing done in order to save their workers from being forced off the country. Tim Cook of Apple, in his statement, expressed solidarity with about 250 workers in his organisation who would be affected by the DACA rescind if Congress does not act before the expiry date of March 5 next year, while Microsoft already says it will stand by its employees even in court.

It remains to be seen how much Congress will be pushed to actually do something about it, with tax reform deliberations on the horizon, and healthcare presumed to come up at some point again within the coming year. That is not to mention the temporarily rested but not forgotten skirmishes about The Trumps’ collusion with Russia in interfering in the 2016 General elections, as well as the nuclear distractions from Pyongyang.

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