Sens. Durbin and Graham introduced their bipartisan DREAM Act on Sept. 5. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
"America needs to know that the clock is ticking" for Dreamers, Sen. Dick Durbin said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday.
The bottom line: Homeland Security will only process applications for Dreamers who are eligible for DACA renewal between now and March 5th if they receive them by Thursday. Durbin urged the department to consider applications coming from hurricane-ravaged Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico on a case-by-case basis.
What happens if Congress doesn't act by March 5th? Dreamers' work permits will start to expire. Without work authorization and the prosecutorial discretion provided by DACA, they will no longer have a place in the United States. Durbin and Sen. Lindsay Graham introduced the DREAM Act on Sept. 5th, and Durbin said Tuesday, "We do have the beginning of broad bipartisan support in the Senate." But Congress has yet to establish a legal path to citizenship for Dreamers, despite the fact that 83% of Americans support such legislation, per a Fox News poll.
From the hearing:
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services does not have "specific instructions" to go after DACA recipients for deportation.
- The Obama-era policy that immigration enforcement offices such as ICE and CBP will not use the information Dreamers provided in applications against them or their families still holds.
- "[Dreamers] are a benefit to the country, as are many immigrants," Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler said.