Bipartisan ‘USA Act’ Will Help Virginia Dreamers

The clock is ticking and, across America, there are a million young people who are desperate for a long-term legislative solution for their futures by the March 5 DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) deadline. Right here in Virginia we have 12,300 Dreamers who live, work, and attend school in our communities.

New bipartisan legislation was introduced Monday on Capitol Hill that could help with the status of DREAMers as well as the issue of border security:

Delaware Democratic Sen. Chris Coons and Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain teamed up to sponsor the Uniting and Securing America or the USA  Act.

Sen. Coons tells 47 ABC that when it comes to these issues, “Kicking the can down the road is a terrible idea.”

The bill focuses on protecting Dreamers from deportation and providing a pathway to citizenship while also implementing new border security measures.

Coons says he sees this bill as a bipartisan option that has drawn strong support in the House and will hopefully allow the Congress to move forward with a solution.

Co-sponsored by House members Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA), it is a companion to the Uniting and Securing America (USA) Act introduced in the House in January, and already has 54 co-sponsors in the House, an equal number of 27 Republicans and 27 Democrats.

Adoption of this piece of legislation would give Virginia’s 12,300 DACA recipients, also known as “Dreamers,” the opportunity to apply for American citizenship. This compromise is exactly what they have been waiting for and what is needed. It is balanced, narrowly-tailored, and it should prove to be politically popular on both sides of the aisle.

Dreamers face extreme uncertainty. On Tuesday the Trump administration pledged to shut down DACA on the March 5 deadline, leaving the young immigrants who were brought here as small children at risk of deportation. Not only will Dreamers face the threat of removal, but they will no longer be afforded the rights to go to school, work, and contribute to this country, rights that were afforded to them under DACA.

White House chief of staff John Kelley showed little sympathy while informing reporters the deadline would not be extended:

“There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the president sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million,” he said. “The difference between [690,000] and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up.”

A rigorous process is in place in the USA Act that would not only help Dreamers achieve citizenship but also provide funding for more agents, technology, and physical barriers at the border.

Public sentiment is on the side of these most innocent of immigrants. A Monmouth University poll Monday showed that two-thirds of Americans felt Dreamers should be allowed to stay — 77 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of Republicans, and 60 percent of independents. But public sentiment without action will not save them.

The time to act is now, and Washington policymakers should welcome this common sense bill as the solution needed. It is hoped that Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and Congressman Scott Taylor (R-VA) will support this bill. In September, Rep. Comstock commented, “The House and Senate along with the administration must now come together and find common ground that leads to bipartisan solutions that not only address the DACA issue, but also our critical border security and enforcement issues.” Rep. Taylor has noted, “Now is our time in Congress to lead with justice, mercy, and compassion on this issue.”

Congress has already waited too long, and now Dreamers and the companies that employ them face a crisis. More than 16,000 DACA recipients already have lost their ability to work. Starting in March, more than 1,200 individuals will lose their jobs every single day. The resulting labor turnover will cost U.S. employers $6.3 billion.

That’s not the only cost. DACA recipients have started their own businesses, bought cars and homes, and many have started families of their own here in America. They are a major source of purchasing power.

If Congress fails to act quickly to provide a long-term legislative solution for Dreamers, the U.S. economy will lose a total of $460 billion in GDP over the next decade. These losses are just a few of the reasons that so many Americans are in favor of the passage of legislation like the USA Act.

The deadline is looming. Bipartisan legislation has been presented to the House and Senate who must take quick action to send the bill to the president’s desk. Let’s save the Dreamers.

  • Wessles

    I’ve read this book before. This is virtually the same “deal” as the last amnesty bill in 1986. Legal status and guaranteed citizenship today (with a “rigorous” process, no less!), and kicking the can down the road of preventing a future flood of illegal immigration.

    There’s nothing conservative about continuing to hand out citizenship to everyone within walking distance.

    I can’t believe there’s anyone out there who thinks this nonsense is a “compromise.” It’s DOA — thank goodness.

    • Stephen Spiker

      You’re right that it’s not really a “compromise”, since both sides largely agree on protecting Dreamers. That makes this more just “common sense” legislation.

      • Jim Portugul
      • David Obermark

        Pubic sentiment seems to support that along with amnesty for Dreamers, the legislation should also include a solution to the illegal immigration problem. What Donald Trump is willing to settle for does not solve the problem.

      • Jim Portugul

        You got what you wanted last week and do not even know it. Why do you think Pelosi/Shumer passed Trump’s budget last week? The budget Republicans themselves refused to pass. Dreamers are no longer dreamers. Pelosi got the Dreamers what they wanted, Trump gets his wall funded with $30-40 Billion, AND Republicans open the flood gates to immigration for their cheap labor for the american corporation. Without war or scandal, Trump easily wins again in 2020.

        Are you to stupid to see last week was the ultimate victory for you? Sure, Republicans will woo and moan for the cameras. But, its a done deal. Dreamers no longer are dreamers.

  • Jim Portugul

    Neither party wants to fix immigration. The easy, common sense way is to just trade the number of illegal DACA’s a path to citizenhip, in exchange for an equal cutback in the number of legal immigrants allowed. A net gain or loss of zero for both sides.

    To stop further illegals from entering, just put a bounty on employers who hire illegals, and fine/jail those employers. Any left over money could be used for border security.

    But, neither party wants a fix, its all a scam. The Republicans are never going to give up their cheap labor. Republicans would however like to figure out a way to stop anybody but white males over 40 from voting. But Dems will have none of that.

    So, its all just the latest fad of our corruption based media and congress.

    • Stephen Spiker

      This is nonsense. Most voters and most in Congress oppose cuts to legal immigration, because it’s a very very bad and stupid policy.

      Most people want to protect Dreamers and don’t want cuts to legal immigration. Legislation that accomplishes those things would easily pass.

      • Jim Portugul

        Nonsense! It is not a cut. It is a trade off to solve the DACA problem. It’s called a compromise. Just how is it a cut?

        If you do not want to compromise, jail em’, send em’ home.

        If most people want to protect illegals, and not to cut legal immigrants, tell me just who elected Trump?

        No, you just want to unload the world on our Treasury Dept..

        • Stephen Spiker

          It’s a cut because you’re cutting legal immigration. Cuts are cuts. This is simple.

          Almost everybody, including most Republicans and (allegedly) the President agrees on protecting Dreamers. Not doing that to extract concessions isn’t a “compromise”, it’s hostage-taking.

          The person who elected Trump is Hillary Clinton. Nonetheless, just because Trump got 46% of the vote doesn’t suddenly mean all of his unpopular policies are viewed favorably.

          • Jim Portugul

            Look, if you really care about DAKA, you would gladly delay a like number of legals as a compromise.

            You have apparently been raised to believe that lawlessness and accountability are the new norm.

            I smell Catholicism in your comments. You been brainwashed was by the catholic church haven’t you?

            But, don’t worry. In exchange for Democrats passing the Republican “BS” Budget, behind the scenes an immigration deal was hatched. The immigration flood gates will be opened.

            Why wan’t there any money in the budget for the members of congress who are addicted to crack?

          • Stephen Spiker

            There’s no reason to agree to any extortion; protecting Dreamers has broad support. Cutting legal immigration does not. The two aren’t linked, policy-wise.

            BTW, nice job with the casual bigotry. No, I’m not Catholic. Your ability to smell religions over the Internet must be broken.

  • Jim Portugul

    And here is classic Trump. He gives the stupid, ignorant, godless, republican base their $10 Billion wall for $25 Billion. And then, he sells them out by opening the flood gates for republican cheap labor. This deal was agreed on to get Pelosi to pass the Republican vomit budget in the House. Under achieving 8 year old Paul Ryan didn’t have the votes. Only Pelosi is more stupid than the average republican.

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