Just a few days ago, lawmakers were riding a wave of momentum that they hoped would lead to a permanent solution for our Dreamers—the 1.8 million people who arrived in the United States as children without proper documentation. Instead, the Senate rejected four different proposed solutions, including a bipartisan deal that the President supported.
Now, House Speaker Paul Ryan is moving the deadline back to the end of March. The most likely date of the new deadline is March 23, the same deadline as a massive spending bill. The original deadline was March 5 (the final day the DACA program would remain active), but two recent court decisions have rendered the March 5 deadline less relevant.
With DACA renewals once again possible, Speaker Ryan hopes a solution will be proposed a few weeks from now. However, it is unclear what would draw Congress together—the pillars of one side’s policy are non-negotiable non-starters for the other. For instance, high-level Republicans won’t consider an extension of the DACA program (now on the table) unless it came with serious spending on building the infamous border wall.
Dreamers Are Still “in Limbo”
The problem with both the March 5 and the March 23 deadline is that both are extensions of the original deadline proposed by President Trump. While a January decision keeps DACA in place until litigation played out, and a decision on February 13 allows current recipients to reapply for benefits, both decisions can be overruled.
The Supreme Court may in fact choose to hear the Trump administration’s appeal against the injunction, which means Dreamers could be left without recourse. Congress needs to create a path for Dreamers—thousands of whom have always called the U.S. home and consider themselves Americans. And they need to create the path before the courts pull the rug out from under 1.8 million people, including 700,000 DACA recipients.