Queens Democratic Congressmembers Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks, Carolyn Maloney and Tom Suozzi today all said they support some kind of bipartisan compromise with Republican lawmakers – possibly by the Jan. 18 federal funding deadline – that will finally give a pathway to the roughly 800,000 immigrants that came here as children and know only America as their country.
Earlier this week, President Donald Trump (R) met with Congress to move negotiations forward on how to address the future of undocumented immigrants under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Trump has stated that he is looking for a legislative solution to keep undocumented immigrants in the country but only if it comes with the security of a wall between the United States and Mexico.
Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Rego Park, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth) said with the clock running out, it is essential that Congress take action to provide a permanent legislative solution for the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers who are at risk of being deported through no fault of their own.
“DACA protected individuals [are people] who were brought to this country as children and who subsequently obeyed the law and made productive contributions to our nation. These are exactly the type of individuals America should embrace, not turn away. We must find a way to protect them,” said Meng.
Meeks (D-Jamaica, Laurelton, Rosedale, Cambria Heights, Saint Albans, Springfield Gardens, Far Rockaway, JFK Airport) called DREAMers some of the best and brightest people we have in this nation. They are aspiring doctors, teachers, firefighters, and are American in every way but for their documentation, he said.
“I support a DREAM Act that will give these young people, who are our neighbors and our friends, documentation and certainty, so they can continue living meaningful lives and contributing to our communities. Congress can ill afford to wait any longer, we must get this done now,” said Meeks.
Maloney (D-Astoria, LIC, Manhattan, Brooklyn) said it is far past time that the country come together and finally act to fix its’ broken immigration system.
“We need bipartisan reform and I am hopeful that we can come to an agreement on new legislation. But, Dreamers don’t have time to wait and we need to make DACA permanent now. Republicans should bring the Dream Act to a floor vote immediately. After the president’s comments that we shouldn’t be harming these brave young people who have come out of the shadows to work, pursue higher education, and serve in our military, I hope his party will follow suit and allow a vote on this crucial legislation as we work on a larger, bipartisan immigration reform bill,” said Maloney.
Suozzi (D-Long Island, Whitestone, Glen Oaks, Floral Park), said he is fully committed to passing bipartisan legislation.
“The immigration debate has been going on for 30 years – far too long. Immigrants, regardless of their status, deserve equal dignity and respect. This is about real people’s lives,” said Suozzi.
The negotiations come at the same time that a federal judge temporarily halted Trump’s decision to end DACA on Wednesday, a ruling that will only temporarily halt deportations for almost 800,000 children and adults in the program.
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) believes the court ruling is just another step in the right direction toward passing legislation to protect Dreamers, as the Wall Street Journal reported.
“The ruling last night in no way diminishes the urgency of resolving the DACA issue. On this we agree with the White House. The iron is hot. We should strike now,” said Schumer on the Senate floor Wednesday.
Editor’s Note: A story in yesterday’s QCP with a headline and graphic that disparaged the four respected and honorable Queens Congress Members in the story below was a mistake in communication on our part. We regret the error.