CFGI Quoted – “Outlook 2018: ‘Dreamer’ Bill Possible Amid Immigration Stalemate”

12/27/2017
Bloomberg Law

“A measure to provide legal status to ‘dreamers’ may be the only immigration legislation passed in 2018, and even that isn’t a sure thing.

“‘The tone of the debate, in a nutshell, is really being set by the White House,’ Rebecca Peters, director of government affairs for the Council for Global Immigration, said.

“In October, the White House sent a list of immigration priorities to Congress, including increased border security, bolstered interior enforcement, and a shift to a merit-based immigration system. Republicans in Congress are ‘using these as very high-level guidelines as they’re working on legislation this session,’ even though they were ‘considered nonstarters’ by many on both sides of the aisle, Peters said at the Practising Law Institute’s Immigration and Naturalization Institute.

“Those priorities also are informing the debate over young, undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, Peters said. Legal status for dreamers ‘has really become the No. 1 issue up on Capitol Hill as far as immigration is concerned,’ she said.

“The urgency arose in early September when the Trump administration announced the end of former President Barack Obama’s deferred action for childhood arrivals program. The program to provide deportation protection and work permits to dreamers officially ends March 5.

“…[W]hether Congress can agree on a legislative measure before DACA’s sunset is ‘the big question,’ Peters said. ‘If there is any solution,’ Congress is likely going to push it right up to the deadline, she said.

“Republicans want to see ‘significant progress on immigration enforcement,’ but ‘that progress comes at the expense of many dreamers’ families,’ which Democrats are ‘skeptical about,’ [Theresa Cardinal ] Brown said during a press call.

“…‘It’s back in the hands of the president’ if Congress fails to act by March 5, Austin Fragomen of Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy in New York said at the PLI event. Will President Donald Trump start deporting the 800,000 immigrants covered by DACA? ‘We rather doubt it,’ he said.

“…DACA beneficiaries are going to lose their jobs once their work permits expire, Brown said.

“…It’s also a ‘concern for the employer’ because federal law prohibits employers from knowingly employing unauthorized immigrants, Peters said. That means they’ll have to fire employees whose work permits expire and find a way to fill those vacancies quickly if they can’t find another lawful immigration status, she said.

“…There seems to be little hope for passage of other immigration legislation in 2018.

“‘It is challenging’ for Congress to agree on anything in election years, Peters said.

“…There are…bills pending in Congress that are likely to inform the debate, even if they don’t become law, Peters said.

“…There will be a lot of hearings and ‘pomp and circumstance’ in committee, but not much beyond that, Peters said.

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