DACA, or its functional equivalent, can be kept alive indefinitely through Congressional action. Meanwhile, states can help ease the burden on dreamers if DACA is rescinded.
What Congress Can Do: Pass the DREAM Act?
Congress must pass legislation ensuring that dreamers can permanently live, work, and ultimately gain citizenship in the United States. The DREAM Act, first proposed in 2001, is similar to DACA, with one important distinction: if it was passed, it would be Congressional legislation rather than an executive order.
Under a friendly administration (a Democratic president, for example), it would stand a fairly good chance of passage.
Once passed, the DREAM Act could not be reversed with a stroke of the pen the way an executive order can be. Instead. it would have to be repealed by a majority vote of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
If the President at the time vetoed the repeal, Congress would need a supermajority to override the veto. In other words, a DREAM Act could keep the dreamers safe.
What States Can Do?
Indeed, DACA might be rescinded. Then again, it might be revived during a subsequent administration, depending on the results of the 2020 presidential elections. Some of the actions that states could take to protect dreamers after the rescission of DACA include:
- Allowing dreamers to obtain and renew state drivers’ licenses;
- Allowing dreamers to take advantage of in-state tuition if they meet the same state residency requirements imposed upon Americans;
- Allowing dreamers to obtain professional and occupational licenses regardless of their immigration status; and
lobbying Congress to provide a pathway to citizenship for the dreamers.
One way or the other, by working together and providing our wholehearted support, we can protect the DACA dreamers and ensure a better future for both them and us.