DACA Case Appeal to Be Argued Today; Congress Still Needs to Act

Since the Trump Administration’s September 5, 2017 announcement of its rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the rescission has been challenged in four separate federal lawsuits.  The first of these that resulted in an order requiring the government to resume processing DACA renewal applications will be heard on appeal at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today.   Regardless of the eventual outcome of this case, with a conflict in the Courts, only Congress can end the limbo in which DACA holders now find themselves.

Underscoring the human and economic costs if Congress and the President cannot find a solution to offer these young adults a path to permanent residency is this profile of six DACA holders who recently graduated from Loyola University of Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine.  Upon completion of their residencies, they will practice medicine in underserved communities in Illinois.

The impact of DACA rescission crosses into many critical professions.  For example, many DACA holders are teaching our children, with estimates of the number of DACA teachers nationwide ranging from 8,800 to 20,000.    The Teach for America program has at least 190 “DACAmented” teachers working in high-need urban and rural schools throughout the country.

With nationwide unemployment at 3.9%, the U.S. cannot afford to lose any DACA holders from the workforce, regardless of sector.  So it is heartening that a Republican-led effort is underway to bypass House leadership, which is failing to act, to force the House to vote on four different immigration bills that would offer a path to permanent status for DACA/Dreamers.  As of this writing, 18 Republicans and one Democrat had signed onto the discharge petition to  bring the rare “Queen of the Hill” resolution up for a vote.   It is expected that most House Democrats will sign the petition, so seven more Republicans are needed to reach the 218 representatives needed to force a vote.

Rep. Chellie Pingree has been a strong advocate for path to permanent status for DACA/Dreamers.    Rep. Bruce Poliquin has stated his support for this population as well.   Maine employers should contact Rep. Pingree and Rep. Poliquin to urge them to sign on to the discharge petition, H. Res. 774.