Pearce’s Dreamers bill offers interim solution
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce of Hobbs, who’s seeking the Republican nomination for governor in 2018, has filed a bill that would allow “Dreamers” — children whose parents came to the U.S. illegally, but who are protected from deportation by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA — an opportunity to stay in the country for a decade or more.
It’s a reasonable alternative to President Donald Trump’s mandate that DACA expire on March 6, leaving some 800,000 Dreamers nationwide — and between 7,000 and 8,000 in New Mexico — living with the specter of eventual deportation.
Pearce’s bill — HR 4488 — would create a “conditional protected status” for current DACA recipients. The legal status would be active for 10 years, with the option of renewal. The bill would also allow applicants to seek permanent legal status through existing immigration procedures. His legislation would not require any work, education or military service to qualify.
Although the proposal falls short of Pearce’s earlier insistence that any immigration reform offer a permanent solution to our ailing immigration system, his proposal takes the pressure off those immigrants facing Trump’s March 6 deadline.
It also gives Congress time to craft solutions to the nation’s unmanageable immigration system, which includes chain migration and the Diversity Visa Lottery.
Chain migration refers to the “chains” of foreign nationals who are allowed to immigrate to the United States because citizens and lawful permanent residents are allowed to sponsor family members for immigration to the U.S. Antiimmigration groups say basing the process solely on family connections allows far too many unskilled immigrants into the country. Immigration proponents say family-based immigration helps newcomers assimilate better because they have more social and economic support.
The Diversity Visa Lottery, also known as the Green Card Lottery, was designed to ensure a diverse population of immigrants. But it is in dire need of reform or elimination.
There’s also the continued need for improved border security — and not just through Trump’s expensive border wall .
As an interim solution to the numerous and vexing problems of immigration, Pearce’s bill has merit. But the real work lies ahead.