Sen. Van Hollen says DACA should not be tied to a border wall.
Washington, DC (KM). Congress has until March to come up with a solution regarding the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program. That’s according to Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md).
The program was established by President Obama in 2012. It provides protection from deportations for the children of undocumented immigrants who came to the US when they were very little. President Trump decided a few months ago to phase out those protections, challenging Congress to come up with a program. “And they’re just hanging out there right now, very vulnerable, and what we’re trying to do is make sure they have a stable place in America’s future,” Van Hollen says. “These are kids who have grown up here in the United States, it’s the only country they know. They pledge allegiance to the flag and we need to resolve this before January 19th.”
That’s when funding runs out for the federal government, and a shutdown could occur if Congress doesn’t act.
President Trump has said he would support a DACA program if funding is provided for a wall along the border between the US and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants. Van Hollen says he and other lawmakers support enhanced board security, but not a wall. “Every expert has said building a wall for $18-billion over the next couple years and even more over time is not the smartest way,” he says. “And if you look at the Trump Administration budget, they’re actually cutting effective border security programs to pay for an ineffective wall.”
He also says there is support for a DACA bill in Congress. “I do think you’ve got Republicans and Democrats in Congress who are willing to come together. If you were to put the clean DACA bill in the House and Senate for a vote, I think it would pass,” he says.
A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Trump Administration’s plans to phase out the protections for the undocumented “dreamers”. US District Judge William Alsup says the safeguards against deportation should remain in place for the nearly 690,000 people while a legal challenge against ending the DACA program continues.
By Kevin McManus