New push for 'Dream Act' in Congress

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A renewed effort is underway to get Congress to protect immigrants brought to this country as children. Republican Congressmen Jeff Denham of Turlock and David Valadao of Hanford are among those behind the effort to try and force Congress to take a vote to protect DACA recipients. It's a complicated move, but it appears to have enough support and has raised the hopes of those who were brought here illegally as children.

At a Capitol Hill news conference, the two valley congressmen and other members of Congress announced the effort to get the House of Representatives to at least debate legislation aimed at allowing the young immigrants to stay in this country.

Denham said, "It allows us to show the President and the Speaker, the will of the people and the will of the people's house."

Denham and Valadao claim to have 50 Republican votes and 190 Democrat votes to push the legislation which would bring 4 separate bills to the house floor, and force action on at least one of the measures.

Valadao said, "We should at least have the debate and the vote and see what the Senate can do with it."

DACA Recipient, America Yareli Hernandez of Fresno says she had almost given up on getting Congress to do anything. She told Action News, "I am encouraged to see bi-partisan efforts to bringing some kind of protections for Dreamers, or DACA recipients."

There are actually 3 bills, one is the more liberal Dream Act that would allow those brought to this country illegally as children, to register and stay. Two other bills would add conditions to that, like restrictions on other immigrants, and enhancing border security. There's space for a fourth measure that could be created by Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan. But Ryan has said he won't push any legislation that President Trump doesn't like. That stance has stalled previous efforts, as noted by Democratic Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico.

"In that time Congress has tried to make progress but we have been thwarted by Republican leadership and deferred leadership to the President who at times has appeared to be on the side of dreamers but has at other times used them as political pawns and negotiating chips."

Hernandez hopes this effort succeeds but says the fight is far from over.

"I think protections for Dreamers are going to continue to be an issue and it's not going to go away, ever."

There are questions as to whether this legislative effort will succeed. In an election year, Republicans will have to decide if their voters are like a majority of the country which favors help for DACA or Dream Act recipients, or if it's a safer bet to let things ride until after the election. But Denham and Valadao, who serve districts with huge Hispanic populations are clearly hoping their professed support for the Dreamers will help them, whether the legislation passes or not.
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