WASHINGTON – A group of university presidents united with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called on Congress Wednesday to pass a bill to protect “dreamers” from imminent deportation with the expiration of temporary visas provided by the Obama administration. 

Democratic Reps. Lou Correa of California and Darren Soto of Florida told the Presidents Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration that many Republicans agree with Democrats on the need to protect the approximately 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who were given temporary visas under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. President Donald Trump has ended the program, effective in March. 

Democrats have tied a solution to restoring DACA to Republicans’ efforts to avoid a government shutdown on Friday, when funding in a stopgap spending bill expires. 

“Despite the fact that 70 to 80 percent of Democrats and Republicans agree that dreamers should have a pathway to citizenship, despite the fact that most of the legislators are probably 300 votes in the House today …  that we just can’t get there,” Correa said. 

On Tuesday, Republicans were considering a spending bill that would not include a plan to protect the DACA, recipients. But the bill would provide a reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program for another six years – a move that Republicans hope could entice Democrats and buy Republicans more time on negotiating the DACA program.  

Correa was unwavering in his support for DACA’s inclusion in the spending bill despite Republicans’ concessions. 

Democratic Rep Darren Soto of Florida at the press conference (Caroline Vakil/MNS)

“I’m here for strong border security, I’m here for strong national defense, I’m here for children’s health care reform … and I’m also here for dreamers,” Correa said. 

Soto also urged for Congress to pass a bill, saying that dreamers contribute to American society. 

“Dreamers are starting businesses and serving in our military. It’s critical that these doors stay open for dreamers,” Soto said. 

Trump has said he was in favor of finding a solution to DACA that would incorporate building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. 

While a court order last week by U.S. District Judge William Alsup  temporarily blocked Trump’s executive order to end DACA, and the Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court to review the judge’s decision .