WASHINGTON — House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said Wednesday he hopes Congress will pass a resolution to protect “dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children ahead of the massive annual spending bill that must be passed by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.
Hoyer said there are three bills that address DACA, but he said he was frustrated that the Republican-controlled Congress has not moved forward in putting them on the floor for a vote.
“I don’t understand a party who said it was going to lead this House in an open, transparent, fair manner and the Speaker who said we would take the tough issues head on – why they cannot make a pledge to us to put these three bills on the floor,” Hoyer said about the Republican Party. He said Congress has not been able to reach an agreement about the program after six months and five continuing resolutions.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program created by President Barack Obama protected approximately 700,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children by giving them temporary visas. President Donald Trump canceled the program, but a federal judge stopped the cancellation temporarily, leaving the status of the young people in limbo.
One of the bills Hoyer referred to was introduced by House Judiciary Chairman. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., which would increase immigration law enforcement, increase border protection and create a system that would electronically verify if workers are documented. It would also increase green cards for skilled workers.
Hoyer also mentioned the Dream Act, which would provide undocumented immigrants who have been living in the U.S. for four years and came to the country before they were 18 years old conditional permanent status for six years. He explained that the bill has “gotten bipartisan sponsorship with a senior Republican (Sen. Lindsey Graham) as the principal co-sponsor.”
During the press briefing, Hoyer also said that he was “appalled” that Trump congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin for winning his fourth term, saying, “It’s a further indication of this bond between Trump and Putin, which is inexplicable.”
He also said that Trump should avoid meddling in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and asked Republicans to stop being complicit with the way Trump is handling the investigation.
“We need to ensure that Mueller is allowed to do his job,” Hoyer said. “We need to have Republican leaders speak out and not be silent within efforts faced by the president to undermine not only this investigation but the credibility of law enforcement.”