WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), announced that she and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Immigration Subcommittee, led 18 of their colleagues, including Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), in a letter to the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee requesting that language be included in the Fiscal Year 2021 annual spending bill to prohibit the use of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funds to arrest, detain, or remove recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
“As you know, the Supreme Court is currently considering the legality of President Trump’s cruel repeal of DACA, with a decision expected by June. DACA provides temporary protection from deportation to Dreamers, young immigrants who grew up in the United States and know no other home, on an individualized basis if they register with the government, pay a fee, and pass criminal and national security background checks,” wrote the Senators. “DACA and TPS recipients have built their lives in the United States, some for more than two decades, and they do not deserve to be forced to live in fear of detention and deportation. In light of the clear evidence that the Trump Administration is preparing to deport Dreamers and TPS recipients, we request that you include an unequivocal prohibition on any appropriated funds being used to deport them.”
Read the Senators’ full letter here.
BACKGROUND: The Senators’ request for language barring the arrest and deportation of Dreamers is all the more necessary due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Center for American Progress, approximately 27,000 DACA recipients hold positions as health care professionals. Using DHS funding to facilitate the arrest, detainment, or removal of these individuals who are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the health and well-being of Americans would only add additional strain to our already overburdened and understaffed health care system.
Last week, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) led Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) along with 36 Senate colleagues and 87 U.S. House Representatives in sending a letter to Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, pressing the Trump Administration on reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is preparing deportations of Dreamers.
Last October, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) led Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and other current and former members of Congress in filing a bipartisan amicus brief in the Supreme Court supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Last January, Senators Rosen and Cortez Masto co-sponsored the Protect Dreamer Confidentiality Act of 2019 (S. 197), which would safeguard the private information — such as addresses and telephone numbers — of DACA applicants to ensure that they are not targeted for deportation. Specifically, S. 197 protects DACA application information from being disclosed to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) for any purpose, other than implementing DACA.
Senators Rosen, Durbin, and Cortez Masto are also co-sponsors of the Safe Environment from Countries Under Repression and in Emergency (SECURE) Act. The bill would allow qualified Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) recipients to apply for legal permanent residency.
Senator Durbin (D-IL) first introduced the Dream Act nineteen years ago. In March 2019, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Durbin introduced the Dream Act of 2019. The Dream Act was also included in the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform bill that Durbin and Graham coauthored as part of the “Gang of Eight” – four Democrats and four Republicans. The 2013 bill passed the Senate bill on a strong bipartisan vote of 68-32, but the Republican leadership of the House of Representatives refused to consider it.