(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) sent letters with U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and a group of Senate Democrats to President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, urging immediate action to protect Dreamers following the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision last week. The Court ruled against President Trump’s effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
In their letter to President Trump, the Senators urged him to finally end his cruel attempts to deport DACA recipients, who are commonly known as Dreamers. “As the Supreme Court has recognized, it is well within your executive authority to protect Dreamers. By contrast, going ahead with your administration’s efforts to deport DACA recipients would be needlessly cruel and would weaken our nation’s essential workforce,” the Senators wrote to President Trump. “Only Congress can provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, but it is up to you whether to use your administration’s authority to allow these young immigrants who have benefitted America in countless ways to continue contributing to our nation, or to continue your efforts to deport them.”
In their letter to President Trump, the Senators also noted that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 200,000 DACA recipients are working in occupational areas that the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) identifies as part of the “essential critical infrastructure workforce.” This includes an estimated 41,700 DACA recipients working in the health care industry, including physicians and physicians in training, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, and health technicians.
In their letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senators called on him to immediately take up the bipartisan House-passed American Dream and Promise Act, which will establish a path to citizenship for Dreamers and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). “It is not too late to change course. As Majority Leader, you can immediately schedule a vote in the Senate for the American Dream and Promise Act,” the Senators wrote. “It would be an American tragedy to deport DACA recipients who are saving lives in the midst of this pandemic. We must ensure these talented young immigrants are not forced to stop working when the need for their public service has never been greater. And we must give them the chance they deserve to become American citizens.”
Senators Shaheen and Hassan called on the President to reverse his decision to end DACA in 2017, and vehemently opposed the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policies that separated families at the Southern border. In New Hampshire, Senator Shaheen fought tirelessly to protect members of the Granite State’s Indonesian community from being deported, many of whom were swept up in the administration’s broad immigration policies. Senators Shaheen and Hassan are supportive of the bipartisan Dream Act of 2019, which would allow Dreamers to earn lawful permanent residence and eventually American citizenship. Senator Shaheen previously voted in favor of a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers as part of comprehensive immigration reform legislation that passed the Senate in 2013. In 2018, Senators Shaheen and Hassan worked in a bipartisan Senate coalition to negotiate compromise legislation with strong bipartisan support that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, but unfortunately this bill was opposed by the Trump administration.