Facing the uncertain future of a Donald Trump presidency, fear has filled the minds and hearts of many young DREAMers across the nation, but now, it looks like help may come from an unexpected source.
Senator Lindsey Graham to Introduce Bill to Protect DREAMers
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, told Politico that he is working on legislation which would extend legal protections for more than 740,000 young undocumented immigrants who came here as children - also known as "DREAMers" - and who were shielded from deportation under Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals directive. The legislation would be introduced next year when the new Congress takes office.
During his campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly vouched to repeal Obama’s executive actions on immigration, including DACA, a program that protected DREAMers from being deported and gave them permits to work legally. With Trump’s surprise victory in November, Democrats and immigrant advocates have been pleading with the President-elect to back off from those threats.
“The worst outcome is to repeal the legal status that these kids have,” Graham said Wednesday. “Whether you agree with them having it or not, they’ve come out of the shadows.” Tweet This
Bipartisan Support for Shielding DREAMers from Deportation
Graham told Politico that he is collaborating with both Democrats and Republicans to work on this legislation. He mentioned Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) as one of the Republican legislators supporting the forthcoming legislation. A spokesman for Flake said the senator is discussing "potential paths forward" in dealing with the DACA issue with several colleagues.
Graham also mentioned discussing the issue and potential legislative remedies with Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois), the No. 2 Senate Democrat who has been giving daily floor speeches since the election in support of the beneficiaries of DACA.
Last Thursday, Durbin took to the Senate floor to confirm that he is collaborating with Graham to introduce a bill that could protect those who have DACA.
“Durbin will be involved in any effort to save the Dreamers,” spokesman Ben Marter said of the senator, who first introduced legislation to give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship 15 years ago, and who first proposed the idea of DACA two years before Obama formally issued his directive.
A "Bridge" From a Repeal of DACA
The plan discussed by Graham would apply to those who had been approved under the 2012 DACA program. Graham indicated that the bill would be a "bridge" from a repeal of DACA “until we can fix the overall problem.”
The South Carolina Republican, who was a member of the bipartisan Gang of Eight that pushed for immigration reform, was also saying as recently as July that he wants to get the band back together and just “dust off” the 2013 legislation, which died in the House before two of the eight - Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. John McCain - disavowed the package entirely.