CHICAGO — U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and his colleague, Robert Menendez (D-NJ), are warning time is running out for legislation to be passed creating a pathway for more than 800,000 undocumented young people to obtain citizenship in the US.
Last week’s decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision ruling the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — established under the Obama administration — as unlawful, meaning that DACA recipients and their families now stand on uncertain ground.
“We need 60 votes in the senate,” Durbin said during a press conference Tuesday. “We have 50 votes in the senate. We need 10 Republicans.”
Durbin said that Democrats have tried at least five times to pass DACA legislation to no avail, while Menendez thinks it may be time for President Joe Biden to use executive powers to temporarily protect program recipients.
“I think the Biden administration must act now to use its existing legal authority like temporary protected status,” Menendez said.
Even if President Biden issued an executive order granting DACA recipients temporary protected status, the problem would still remain because that’s all the status is — temporary.
Experts say that congressional action would need to be taken to permanently solidify — or extinguish — the program that was established to help youth obtain drivers licenses and work permits who were brought into the country unlawfully without fear of deportation.
For updates on governmental decisions impacting DACA, visit Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) | USCIS.