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Congress fails to include protections for Dreamers in spending package

A crowd gathers in front of the U.S. Supreme Court for a rally. One person in the foreground is holding a sign that says, “DACA matters.” A hashtag is included that says, “Here to stay!”
Victoria Pickering
Flickr Creative Commons
A rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 12, 2019.

Lea en español.

Immigrants across the nation are condemning congressional inaction for DACA recipients after lawmakers unveiled a $1.7 trillion spending package that excluded citizenship pathways for undocumented immigrants.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a massive spending bill that would fund critical government operations for fiscal year 2023.

It includes billions of dollars in funding for natural disaster aid, emergency assistance to Ukraine and defense, among other expenses, but it excludes a pathway to citizenship for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and temporary protected status recipients, commonly known as DACA and TPS.

Earlier this month, Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Thom Tillis introduced a bipartisan proposal.

DACA is an initiative of former President Barack Obama’s administration that protects about 800,000 immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children. However, it does not grant them official legal status or a path to citizenship.

Last year, a Texas judge declared DACA illegal but allowed it to continue temporarily for current recipients.

Make the Road Nevada has been advocating for those immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors and are still not able to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Lead organizer and DACA recipient Rico Ocampo says his community is devastated and frustrated with politicians.

”Our immigrant communities are heartbroken. We’re at a breaking point where many families are deciding what their future is going to look like," he said. "For advocacy groups like us, we’ve been yelling our horn for the past decades to Democrats that at some point, voters are not going to turn out for this Democratic Party.”

In Nevada, there are more than 12,000 active DACA recipients. Ocampo says that endangering their immigration status would also affect local economies.

“We’ll lose teachers, nurses. We’ll lose essential workers, construction workers. Individuals who make up our workforce will no longer have the ability to contribute to this country because of the inaction by Congress,” he said.

In the coming year, Make the Road Nevada plans to open dialogue with elected officials and continue to push to keep families together.

The photo included in this story is licensed under Flickr Creative Commons.

Maria joined KUNR Public Radio in December 2022 as a staff reporter. She is interested in stories about underserved communities, immigration, arts and culture, entertainment, education and health.
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