The Senate Judiciary Committee had already discussed the “American Dream and Promise Act of 2021”, HR. 6, which passed the House March 18, 2021.  HR. 6, among other things

By letter, dated July 6, 2021, Senators Thom Tillis (North Carolina) and John Cornyn (Texas) asked the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Richard Durbin, to –

“… consider legislation to offer permanent legal status to only currently enrolled and active participants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.” 

The Senate Judiciary Committee had already discussed the “American Dream and Promise Act of 2021”, HR. 6, which passed the House March 18, 2021.  HR. 6, among other things –

“… would provide conditional permanent resident status for 10 years to a qualifying alien who entered the United States as a minor and (1) is deportable or inadmissible, (2) has deferred enforced departure (DED) status or temporary protected status (TPS), or (3) is the child of certain classes of nonimmigrants”.

The American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 covers an estimated 4.4 million (probably closer to 20 million) illegal immigrants, whereas the current number of DACA participants is somewhere between 600,000 and 900,000. (See Camilo Montoya-Galvez, Judge orders U.S. to close DACA program to new applicants, calling it illegal, CBS News, est. 616,000 (July 17, 2021); Rachel Treisman and Vanessa Romo, The Biden Administration Vows to Appeal a Federal Ruling Deeming DACA Unlawful, NPR, est. more than 800,000 (July 17, 2021).

Senators Tillis and Cornyn recognized that HR. 6 would never pass the Senate given a Republican filibuster.  They also recognized that there could/would be an unfavorable ruling in the lawsuit of State of Texas, et al. v. The United States of America, et. al, in which several Republican-led states argued that the DACA program violated established law, the Administrative Procedure Act, at Title 5, United States Code, Section 552.  Senators Tillis and Cornyn, therefore, asked that the Senate Judiciary Committee consider new legislation aimed at only DACA participants, hoping that a more narrowly tailored law would pass Republican muster. 

Both expectations came true! 

First, Republicans did not allow the American Dream and Promise Act of 2021 (HR. 6), to be voted out of committee.  Second, on July 16, 2021, Judge Andrew Hanen, US District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Brownsville Division, issued a permanent injunction and order to the Federal Government on the grounds that the DACA program had been illegally established.  The Court ordered the Federal Government to not process any new applications under the DACA program.  The order specifically provided that the Federal Government could accept new applications but could not approve them pending an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Judge Hanen did not change the status of those DACA participants already approved.

None of this surprised Senators Tillis and Cornyn as both acknowledged in the letter to Senator Durbin that “the DACA program contravenes the Immigration and Nationality Act and …[that] …it was likely unconstitutional when issued by President Obama.”  Nevertheless, they are “concerned” that illegal immigrants rely on the program to their detriment, unless they have legal protection that only legislation can/will provide.

The letter to Durbin is attached.

I hope this is of value!

Demetria Carter