Democratic lawmakers press DHS to speed up DACA renewals

WASHINGTON — A group of Democratic lawmakers is asking the Trump administration to accelerate the renewal of work permits for young immigrants protected by an Obama-era program that remains the subject of federal court challenges.

The request from Democrats comes as the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the roughly 690,000 immigrants it protects remains in flux. A deadline imposed by President Donald Trump to end the program passed Monday, but the date is moot, as federal court challenges over the legality of the program and Trump's decision continue.

On Wednesday, the president again accused Democrats of stalling talks over the fate of the program, saying in a speech to the Latino Coalition in Washington that he is "ready, willing and able" to strike an agreement but Democrats "don't want to solve the problem" and would rather allow the program to fester for potential political gain.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday, "President Trump created the problem, and we gave him a very good offer, better than some people wanted. He refused it. Let's hear what our Republican friends have to say on DACA."

People protected by DACA receive a two-year work permit and are required to reapply ahead of the expiration date.

With court challenges continuing, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada and other Democrats on Wednesday asked the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the renewal applications of immigrants who have reapplied to remain part of the program. In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, they estimate that about 20,000 immigrants have seen their DACA status expire since the fall and are "vulnerable to the threat of detention and deportation, and may have already lost jobs, drivers' licenses, and educational opportunities."

The lawmakers also called on Nielsen to consider extending protections for current DACA recipients beyond the date that their protections are set to expire. They cited a decision by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to extend the temporary protected status of roughly 200,000 Salvadorans whose protections under program are set to end in September.


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