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DHS defends Oct. 5 deadline for Dreamers

Homeland Security hasn’t gotten any complaints that natural disasters are affecting the ability of Dreamers to apply for a quick renewal of their DACA status, the department’s acting secretary told Congress on Wednesday.

Elaine Duke also signaled she won’t extend the Oct. 5 deadline for Dreamers to apply, saying that the DACA program is unconstitutional. She said the one-month period they allowed was a balance between the legal situation and the humanitarian needs of the illegal immigrants.

“It is an unconstitutional program, so that is constraining,” Ms. Duke told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Democrats and immigrant-rights activists have berated Ms. Duke and President Trump for their decision to phase out the Obama-era deportation amnesty for Dreamers, calling it cruel. And they have said a month to gather the nearly $ 500 filing fee and to submit paperwork for a quick extension is too harsh.

“Are 700,000 young people supposed to suffer because you didn’t figure out how to implement this program properly?” said Sen. Kamala Harris, California Democrat.

Ms. Duke, though, countered that an unconstitutional program created by President Obama wasn’t the right answer, and that Ms. Harris and her legislative colleagues could provide a permanent fix.

“It’s not my position to come up with a statute. That would be congress’s responsibility,” Ms. Duke said.

The DACA program grants a two-year stay of deportation and offers work permits to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as minors, who have kept a relatively clean criminal record and who have made efforts toward schooling. Some 690,000 Dreamers are currently protected under the program.

The Trump administration earlier this month announced a phaseout, saying all current two-year permits will be honored and those whose permits expire over the next six months can quickly apply for a new extension, but it must be in by Oct. 5.

A number of activists and Democrats on Capitol Hill have said that because tens of thousands of Dreamers live in Texas and Florida and may be grappling with the aftermath of hurricanes, the Oct. 5 deadline is improper. They’ve demanded a nationwide delay.

A federal judge in New York this week also called the deadline “heartless.”

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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