WASHINGTON – The White House suggested on Wednesday that President Donald Trump does not support a bipartisan bill that will be presented on Thursday, which sets a path to citizenship for undocumented youth who arrived in the country as children, more commonly known as “Dreamers.”
“The (Trump) Administration has opposed the ‘Dream Act’ and is likely to be consistent with that,” said White House Legislative Affairs spokesman Marc Short at a news conference.
The “Dream Act” bill was first presented to U.S. Congress in 2011, but failed to pass. It has been resubmitted several more times since, each time suffering the same fate.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham are scheduled to scheduled to present a new version of the “Dream Act” Thursday that if passed would allow youth in the country without legal status to obtain residency status and later U.S. citizenship if they meet certain requirements.
To be eligible, the applicant must have arrived in the U.S. as a child, earned a high school diploma or GED, is pursuing higher education, worked legally for about three years or served in the military. They must also have not committed any crimes, among other provisions.
Congress’ multiple failures to pass the Dream Act was the impetus for former President Barack Obama’s push for a temporary solution to the plight of hundreds of thousands of young people raised in the U.S. and consider this their home. Obama issued an executive order creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, program, which since 2012 has prevented the deportation of 800 thousand undocumented youths who came to the U.S. as children.
In June, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memorandum stating that DACA “will remain in effect.”
However, the federal government has not made a decision on the future of that program, although President Trump has repeated that this is “one of the most difficult issues” he faces in his presidency. Without providing any details, the president has said he would face the issue “with heart.”
Trump said last week that he wants to push for comprehensive immigration reform, but believes the U.S. and its political forces “are not ready” for that.
Texas and nine other states have threatened to sue the federal government if it does not eliminate DACA by Sept. 5.