As the March 5 deadline that ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program fast approaches, activists target Republican moderates to pass legislation that offers a fix for beneficiaries. With an ad campaign targeted toward districts represented by House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP officials, activists aim to call out leadership complacency as exhibited over the stagnated Dreamer debate.
According to The Hill, the left-leaning advocacy group iAmerica Action intends to mount a $250,000 ad campaign that sends a variety of messages to representatives’ district outlets. One ad asks Republican representatives prevent the White House from holding “Dreamers hostage to attack legal immigration” and calls for the “party of family values” to “not separate families.” Specific districts where ads will run include those with a heavily-Hispanic constituency, including in California, Illinois, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Virginia. Many of the representatives have voiced support for a Dreamer pathway to citizenship.
“Immigration activists are incensed at what they perceive as a bad-faith effort by Republicans in Congress and the White House to give the issue lip service without putting in the political capital necessary for a compromise,” The Hill report reads.
The decision to pursue the campaign comes after the Senate failed to pass a legislative fix for DACA beneficiaries. While some speculated the post-DACA solution as passing in conjunction with budget legislation, elected officials passed a spending bill without addressing the sunsetting program.
“After the White House-Republican leadership collusion to sink the bipartisan Dreamer deal, it’s clear that our work is far from over,” iAmerica Action President Rocio Sáenz says.
Virginia Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte introduced an immigration bill, which House leadership pledges to bring to the floor. However, a bipartisan measure supported by representatives largely remain ignored by the leadership.
President Barack Obama signed DACA into existence under an executive order in late 2012. In September last year, President Donald Trump rescinded the order, giving Congress a 6-month window to pass a legislative replacement for the program.
Estimates put DACA beneficiaries protected under the program at around 800,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Under President Trump’s proposal, more than twice as many individuals would be eligible for legal status.