Two members of Congress have teamed up to introduce a bill that would make it illegal for immigration officials to use taxpayer funds to apprehend, detain, or deport recipients of Deferred Action, or DACA, the federal program that provides young immigrants a temporary work permit and protections from deportation.
The bill, titled “Dreamer Protection Act,” was unveiled Thursday by Rep. Norma J. Torres (D–CA) and Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D–TX). Both represent congressional districts with a large Latinx population.
“This bill would provide Dreamers with the certainty that President Trump cannot rip them from the only country they know on a whim,” Rep. Torres said in a statement.
Torres represents a district in Southern California that is 74.1% Latinx, according to the Pew Research Center. Her district includes Pomona, Chino, Ontario, and Fontana.
It’s currently very difficult for any legislation introduced by Democrats to move forward in the Republican-led Congress, so the bill will need a lot of support from both sides to even bring it to a vote.
If successful, the bill seeks to protect any immigrant “who at any time was granted Deferred Action,” even if the Trump administration ends that protects some young immigrants from deportation.
The “Dreamer Protection Act” comes three months after Sens. Dick Durbin (D–IL) and Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) introduced the Bridge Act, which would effectively extend DACA protections in the event the Trump administration gets rid of the federal program that has allowed more than 700,000 young undocumented immigrants to live with less fear of deportation. A summary of the Bridge Act is still in process.
"There are 700,00 DREAMers in this country who were brought here at a young age and are now contributing to our communities,” said Rep. O’Rourke, who represents the Congressional District around El Paso with a population that is 83.6% Latinx.
Rep. O’Rourke continued, “they are going to school, serving in the military, and helping to create jobs and grow our economy. We need to protect them for their benefit and ours.”