"DACA has made sense to me": Republican lawmakers pledge to support DACA over Trump

With DACA in the hands of a Republican-led Congress, it's still unclear if they will be able to save Dreamers

Published September 5, 2017 9:00AM (EDT)

 (AP/Paul Sancya)
(AP/Paul Sancya)

Congress can expect to add DACA to their already busy plate for the month of September, and President Donald Trump has decided to delay a decision on the Obama-era leglisation for six months and instead leave Congress with the responsibility. Republicans have largely pledged their support for DACA, but immigration hard-liners will prove to make keeping the Obama-era legislation a difficult task, as it's currently unclear what a future vote would look like.

"Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!" Trump tweeted early Tuesday morning.

The Republican-led Congress has struggled immensely over the past eight months, and the party now faces further division as they return and urgently need to raise the debt ceiling to avoid a government shutdown, pass an aid package for Hurricane Harvey — some of which is expected to be tied to the raise of the debt ceiling — and now reach a decision on DACA.

Many Republicans have decided to support the legislation they once vilified Trump's predecessor for enacting, but others remain opposed.

"It is right for there to be consequences for those who intentionally entered this country illegally," Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., said in a statement Monday, according to Politico. "However, we as Americans do not hold children legally accountable for the actions of their parents."

Both Republican leaders of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have also spoken out against ending DACA.

"I’m very sympathetic with this situation," McConnell said back in February, Politico reported. "I mean, these are young people who were brought here at a tender age and who have grown up here, or are in the process of growing up here. I’m very sympathetic to that situation."

"I have indicated in the past that I’m supportive of DACA and believe that the humanity aspect of this, what you described, is important — no fault of their own, circumstances beyond their control," Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. explained during a town hall in August. "DACA has made sense to me," he added.

"If President Trump chooses to cancel the DACA program and give Congress six months to find a legislative solution, I will be supportive of such a position," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said on Monday, Politico reported. "If President Trump makes this decision we will work to find a legislative solution to their dilemma."

But ultra-conservative Republicans haven't budged on DACA and remain vociferously opposed.

"Ending DACA now gives [us a] chance 2 restore Rule of Law. Delaying so Leadership can push Amnesty is Republican suicide," Rep. Steve King of Iowa tweeted on Sunday.

Some have also doubted the ability of Republican-led Congress to actually enact a solution, despite their recent support for DACA.

An immigration advocated told Politico they believed Congress has a "30-70 chance" of passing legislation that would protect Dreamers. "I just don’t think we can make the mistake of assuming the opposition isn’t formidable, even if we have some conservative support," the advocated added.

By Charlie May

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