"After a multi-week sprint by our hardworking nonprofit partners, 48 local Dreamers have submitted their DACA renewal applications, and government application fees of $495 per person were paid-in-full on behalf of 37 of these young people", Mulligan said. "I do think it's one of those moments we've seen more action in the legislature than we've ever seen before, and that why these conversations are so important right now".
The Trump administration has stopped accepting new applications for the program known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, that protects almost 700,000 so-called DREAMers from deportation.
Immigration Paralegal Raymond Partolan, who is himself a DACA recipient, noted that while DACA recipients have lawful presence in the USA, they do not have lawful status.
"I think if the very first thing we do substantially on legislation is DACA, that makes it extremely hard for the Trump voter", Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who chairs the House's conservative Freedom Caucus, told reporters Tuesday. In Illinois, which has about 35,600 active DACA recipients, this would come to slightly less than 8,000 candidates for renewal.
At the forefront of the argument in favor of replacing the program is the economic damage that could result from yanking almost 1 million people, and more than 100,000 state-wide, from the nation and state's workforce. But he has sought a legislative solution to help the young immigrants after ending a programme started under former Democratic President Barack Obama that allowed the Dreamers to remain in the country.
That could all end unless Congress acts to create new protections for DACA recipients. Dreamers are a term used to describe the children. "We're in a better position than we've been in a long time", said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked DOJ Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler.
"I'm not aware of any examples", Readler responded.
Throughout the hearing, the administration officials offered few details and opinions on contents of legislation, including on the Dream Act. "Congress now has 6 months to legalize DACA (something the Obama Administration was unable to do)", Trump tweeted.
The Department of Homeland Security still urging people to renew now saying this week that only one-third of eligible recipients have reapplied. Also, once that citizenship is granted, immigrants would not be able to use their green cards to petition for their family members to be granted permanent residency. He has no choice, given the broad support for the DACA program from the business, religious and university communities. "You could work with the Social Security", Laura said. But whether or not the President actually believes in providing Dreamers a pathway to citizenship has been unclear.
Kennedy tapped the eraser end of his pencil on the desk for a moment after the response, looking frustrated. "It shouldn't be, 'If you give us a wall.' It should be DACA first".