President Joe Biden on Sunday said he remained adamant about the need to create a pathway for US citizenship for so-called Dreamer immigrants, but it ‘remains to be seen’ if that will be part of a $3.5trillion budget measure.
‘There must be a pathway to citizenship,’ he said.
Dreamers are immigrants brought to the United States as children who are protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Currently there are approximately 650,000 people in the US being protected by DACA.
Joe Biden on Sunday spoke to reporters as he returned to the White House after a weekend spent in Delaware
Biden, whose wife is returning from a trip to Tokyo to cheer on Team USA, was back at the White House on Sunday afternoon
Democrats hope to provide legal status to some immigrants in the $3.5trillion budget reconciliation measure they plan to pass with a simple majority, but details have not been released.
Asked if the reconciliation measure needed to include the pathway to citizenship, Biden said that ‘remains to be seen.’
Senate Democratic leaders this month told other members the budget measure would open the door to legislation on climate measures, social spending, and extension of a child tax credit.
However, it remains unclear if the Senate parliamentarian, who decides which provisions may be included in a budget package, will approve inclusion of an immigration measure.
The DACA program, created by Barack Obama while Biden was vice president, faces new legal challenges.
Demonstrators calling for protection of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and for immigration reform march through the Chinatown neighborhood of New York on July 23
Migrant rights campaigners are seen in Houston, Texas on July 19 doing a ‘unity clap’ and chanting ‘Isang Bagsak,’ to symbolize solidarity in Tagalog. The practice goes back to when Mexican and Filipino farmworkers came together under the leadership of Cesar Chavez to demand labor rights
US District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas on July 16 sided with a group of states suing to end the program, arguing that it was illegally created by Obama in 2012.
Biden last week vowed to preserve the DACA program and urged Congress to provide a path to citizenship.
DACA protects recipients from deportation, grants them work authorization and access to driver’s licenses, and in some cases better access to financial aid for education. It does not provide a path to citizenship.
People protected under DACA primarily are young Hispanic adults born in Mexico and countries in Central and South America.
Vice President Kamala Harris held a meeting with DACA recipients and other so-called Dreamers on Thursday after a federal court ruling in Texas deemed the program illegal
‘I want to make clear to the dreamers that are here, and to those who are watching from home, this is your home, this is your home, and we see you and you are not alone,’ Harris assured the group, as she spoke to the press ahead of the meeting.
The vice president told those in the meeting that the Texas court ruling ‘will not immediately impact current DACA recipients, also it will put hundreds of thousands of young immigrants in jeopardy. But our administration is taking action.’
Biden vowed to appeal the ruling, and called the decision ‘deeply disappointing’.
Obama’s administration created and implemented in 2012 the DACA program, which was almost immediately denounced by Republicans as an unlawful get around to immigration laws.
Donald Trump, and border hawks on his team, promised to get rid of DACA and other programs he felt encouraged illegal immigration.
A group of Republican states sued to finally end the program that protects immigrants brought to the US as children from deportation.
Hanen sided with the states. He said the program violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because Obama introduced it by executive order and blocked new applications.
Harris’ team said her meeting on Thursday was part of the administration’s larger plan to address the border crisis and American immigration system in general.
Biden has experienced the biggest southern border crisis in recent history, with record numbers of encounters each month since March, with no sign of it slowing.