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July 15, 2020

House panel approves amendment barring DACA deportations

The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved an amendment that would block the Department of Homeland Security from detaining or deporting people covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs.

The DACA program is meant to protect from deportation people who came to the United States illegally or overstayed visas as children. The TPS program is used to protect people from deportation when it would be dangerous for them to return to those countries.

“DACA recipients and TPS holders are building their lives in this country. They have careers, families and businesses here,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), who sponsored the amendment.

“They’re first responders on the front lines of this pandemic and are helping to keep our country and economy moving forward in a moment of crisis. This amendment simply codifies what we already know to be true, that their home is here,” he added.

The amendment to the 2021 homeland security appropriations bill passed by voice vote, with bipartisan support.

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), who co-sponsored the amendment, noted that it would also ensure that DACA and TPS recipients could not be denied work authorizations and called for a permanent solution.

“Congress needs to act to implement a permanent legislative solution for these DACA recipients,” said Hurd, who is retiring at the end of this Congress.

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DACA has had broad support in Congress, but there has been little progress in codifying it through legislation.

In June, the Supreme Court blocked President Trump’s plan to scrap the Obama-era program but left an opening for the administration to proceed if it advanced with better reasoning.

Trump was reportedly planning on refiling the paperwork in light of the court ruling but also said he’d include a path to citizenship in an upcoming executive order on the issue.