The president has stuck to his anti-immigrant rhetoric since taking office, and those who oppose his anti-immigrant stance have stood their ground as well.
Recently, the Trump Administration announced that the president had decided to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. Enacted under the Obama Administration, DACA allowed for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to be protected from deportation, but only for a limited time. Under DACA, undocumented immigrants would have to renew their paperwork regularly, in order to stay in the program.
Conservatives, Trump included, have disregarded the humanitarian aspect to DACA and cast it as an overreach of executive authority by President Obama that should be done away with. The president’s announcement that he was ending DACA earlier this year came with a catch — the effective date of the decision would be six months in the future. Thus, Congress would (supposedly) have time to come up with a permanent solution to the problem of hundreds of thousands of people being caught in the middle of a hyper-partisan policy tug of war.
Republican members of Congress have now apparently come up with something. Called the SUCCEED Act, Senators James Lankford of Oklahoma, Thom Tillis of North Carolina — and apparently Utah’s Orrin Hatch — introduced the measure on Monday. The SUCCEED Act provides a pathway to citizenship for those protected by DACA, although that pathway would take individuals some fifteen years to complete.
Under the SUCCEED Act, eligible individuals — including those who have been in the U.S. since June 15, 2012, and were under sixteen when they entered — would be eligible to obtain “conditional permanent residence,” a status they would have to renew after five years and hold for ten years in total. Only after those ten years could individuals apply for a green card, and only after having a green card for five years could individuals provided for by the SUCCEED Act apply for citizenship.
That’s not even where the requirements end. If passed, the SUCCEED Act would require program participants to pay off any back taxes, have a high school diploma, pass a criminal background check, and “submit biometric and biographical data to the Department of Homeland Security” before beginning the program.
The bill will no doubt face opposition from Republican lawmakers who, because of a racism that is glaringly obvious, but which they would vehemently deny harboring, oppose any and all potential paths to citizenship for those currently in the country without proper paperwork. There are really those who support the president’s longtime plan to just deport the millions of people currently without paperwork.
Sen. Hatch is one of those who has long supported the idea of providing a much more compact path to citizenship for those who would be provided for by the SUCCEED Act, but he says that Congresspeople “need to focus on a bill that has a chance of passing.”
Sen. Lankford claims to have discussed his plan with the president shortly after his decision to end DACA, at which time the president commented that it was the “right way to go.” Tillis and Lankford want to see their bill “incorporated into a larger agreement” — we will have to wait and see how much support from the general GOP that these Senators can gather.
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