Costello joins colleagues calling for legislative fix for DACA
U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello, R-6, of West Goshen, this week joined 13 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to call for legislative action for beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“We in Congress need to provide a humane, permanent, and constitutional solution to this issue,” he said. “ It is not something that can just be done by a president. It does require Congress to step up and legislate, and to do so in a way that reflects the best about our country, which is that we are a compassionate people,” Costello said during a press conference. “We owe it to the American people to demonstrate that we can do this on a bipartisan basis. Candidly, I would add this, let’s not wait until five months and 30 days, let’s do this earlier rather than later, and let’s demonstrate that we can work together and that we’re doing this for the right reasons.”
In September, when President Trump announced his administration would phase out DACA, Costello issued the following statement:
“Congress must provide a humane, permanent, and constitutional solution for children who were brought to the United States at no fault of their own and remain here under DACA, a program that was meant to be temporary. While it is clear the Obama Administration abused executive authority in implementing DACA, it is now up to Congress to pass legislation to give these individuals clear standards as to how they may remain domiciled in the United States. We also need to address sanctuary cities, border security, and our visa program as part of immigration reform.”
According to the American Center for Progress, 95 percent of DACA recipients last year were working or in school, 54 percent bought their first car, 12 percent bought a home and 21 percent of DACA recipients work in education and health services, the highest of any other industry. DACA recipients made an average wage last year of $13.96 per hour.
New applications are halted for the DACA, program, which has provided nearly 800,000 young immigrants a reprieve from deportation and the ability to work legally in the U.S. in the form of two-year, renewable work permits.
The Trump Administration is giving Congress six months to come up with a legislative fix before the government stops renewing permits for people already covered by the program.
Trump has spent months wrestling with what to do with DACA, which he slammed during his campaign as illegal “amnesty.” Many of his closest advisers, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, policy adviser Stephen Miller, and former chief strategist Steve Bannon argue that the program is unconstitutional and have urged Trump to follow through on his campaign promise to end it.
One bill addressing the issue that has received the most attention, introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., would grant permanent legal status to more than 1 million young people who arrived in the United States before they turned 18, passed security checks and met other criteria, including enrolling in college, joining the military or finding jobs.