AILA: Once Again, Congress Holds DREAMers Hostage

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

San Francisco, CA - Speaker Paul Ryan announced this week that the House of Representatives will hold votes next week on two immigration bills; both have provisions that protect some DREAMers. The first, sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, has no prospect of passage. The second pairs Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) provisions with severe cuts to legal immigration, policies that undermine vital protections for vulnerable populations, and ballooning funding for enforcement.

AILA President Anastasia Tonello responded, "AILA recognizes compromise is the name of the game, but this legislation would hold protection for DREAMers as ransom in exchange for the most dramatic cuts to the legal immigration system in a century. This 'compromise' reportedly reached within the Republican party is inherently flawed and runs contrary to what the American public supports. The bill is not good for American families, businesses or our country. Taken together, the changes would upend our immigration system and betray our values."

AILA Executive Director Ben Johnson said, "In another act of political pandering on immigration, what started out as an effort to force a vote to protect Dreamers has now turned into a vote on two draconian bills that are more about appeasing the most extreme anti-immigrant voices in Congress and the administration. The vast majority of Americans, including most Republicans, support a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and that's what deserves a clean vote. The evisceration of family unity and the construction of a wall that 65% of Americans oppose just aren't mainstream positions. Constituents should tell their representatives that this so-called 'compromise' is an extreme proposal that must be voted down."

The White House bill would:

Provide $25 billion for a border wall; End several categories of family immigration; Undermine access to asylum for individuals; and Terminate the diversity visa program that facilitates the arrival of Africans and immigrants from other nations historically excluded from the United States.


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

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  • It’s time for Congress to step up and protect #Dreamers not hold them hostage with a bill that would gut legal #immigration and hurt the most vulnerable.

  • No, this so-called compromise just doesn’t cut it – Congress needs to pass a clean Dream Act now. #Dreamers #DACA

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 18061561.