LVRJ: Democrats defy veto threat, OK bill to provide protection for Dreamers

Jun 5, 2019
In The News
House Democrats defied President Donald Trump’s veto threat and voted Tuesday for legislation that would give roughly 2 million immigrants — including an estimated 40,300 in Nevada — protection from deportation and a path to citizenship.
The American Dream and Promise Act passed along a mostly party line vote, 237-187. The bill would protect immigrants who were brought illegally into the U.S. as children and those who came from countries beset by natural disasters, violence and wars from deportation and provide them with a path to citizenship.
Both groups were formerly protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs that have been targeted for elimination or scaled back by the Trump administration.
Governors, attorneys general and state legislatures in 16 states, including Nevada, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and organized labor backed the bill, which the White House said Trump would veto because it fails to protect the border and nearby communities.
“This is an issue that Nevadans overwhelmingly support, providing a pathway to Dreamers,” Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., said before the vote, using a phrase often used to describe DACA recipients. “These are young people who have dedicated their lives to this country. It’s the right thing to do.”
“They ask for nothing more than a shot at the American Dream,” Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., said in a House floor speech before the vote.
Horsford, Titus and Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., voted for the bill. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., voted against it.
An analysis by the left-leaning Center for American Progress estimates that 2.5 million immigrants would be eligible for protection under the bill, including 20,900 in suburban Clark County, 11,500 in Las Vegas and 5,700 in Washoe County.
“It’s about young people having a promise to fulfill their life dreams. It’s good for business. It’s good for the economy,” Horsford said.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the cost of the legislation at $30 billion over the next 10 years, due to increased payout in federal benefits, including Medicaid.
Republicans in Congress have resisted immigration legislation that would allow citizenship to those who were brought here illegally, labeling such programs and policies an amnesty that rewards illegal immigration.
Seven Republicans, notably those with congressional districts with large immigrant populations, voted with Democrats in favor of the bill.
Trump has urged Congress to pass legislation to codify Dream Act policies, but the president ended such a program instituted by the Obama administration. Federal courts have blocked Trump’s efforts and have temporarily upheld the protections allowing Dreamers to remain in the country.
In a letter, the White House told House lawmakers the president would veto the current bill because it does not deter illegal immigration and does nothing to protect the border or communities.
The president and Democrats have collided on immigration policy, with Trump seeking money to build a border wall and Democrats favoring high-technology and fencing along the Southwest border with Mexico.
Democrats also removed money for the Department of Homeland Security in a recently passed disaster bill, funds needed to house about 13,000 child immigrants arriving from foreign countries at the Southwest border.
“The Congress needs to act on this, just like any other emergency,” said Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Democrats have moved ahead with several pieces of legislation that face obstacles in the Republican-led Senate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democratic leaders urged the caucus to vote for the immigration bill on the floor Tuesday, despite GOP and presidential opposition.
“This House is going to be standing up to that hateful anti-immigration policies that have come to define the Trump administration,” Titus said.