Republican Leaders Say Helping Dreamers Isn’t An Emergency. For Many Dreamers, It Is.

Courtesy of Juan Navarro
Juan Navarro, 24, came to the U.S. when he was three years old.

WASHINGTON ― For Republican leaders in Congress, finding a legislative solution to help young undocumented immigrants who may soon be deported isn’t an urgent problem. They figure they have a few more months before they need to do anything.

“There is no crisis,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” He added later, “There’s no emergency. The president has given us to March to address it.”

“The deadline is March, as far as I understand it,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Thursday at a press conference. “We’ve got other deadlines in front of that, like fiscal year deadlines and appropriation deadlines.”

But for Juan Navarro, 25, it is an emergency, and the deadline is well before March. He is set to lose deportation protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program within weeks, potentially forcing him out of his job, his health insurance and his graduate school studies.

Navarro is one of thousands of so-called Dreamers, or young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, who could soon be ― or have already been ― affected by President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind the DACA program and years of Republican opposition in Congress to bills that would grant them legal status. Trump, Ryan and McConnell insist they have until March to act because the president’s decision allowed DACA recipients whose status was set to expire before then to apply for renewal of the two-year protections.

They imply it won’t make a difference whether they do something now ― as Democrats and some Republicans have demanded ― or later. But in the meantime, Dreamers are already losing status. Some, like Navarro, are waiting for renewal applications that might not come through in time. Others were eligible to apply to renew their status but didn’t get a $495 fee and application in to the government in the four weeks they were given. While Congress delays, an estimated 122 DACA recipients per day lose their status, according to the left-leaning Center for American Progress.

Waiting is doing damage to Dreamers’ lives, Navarro said.

“Congress just doesn’t realize the impact this is continuing to have, the mental damage that it’s causing, the anxiety that it’s causing within the community,” he said.

By Elise Foley for HUFFINGTON POST
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