By KEVIN BESSLER
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — It could be an uphill battle for Democrats as they try to pass immigration legislation following an appeals court decision that struck down the DACA program.
DACA stands for Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals and allows people who came to the U.S. illegally as children to stay.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the Obama administration did not have the authority to institute the program.
In a statement, President Joe Biden called the decision “unlawful” and urged Congress to make permanent legislative protections to help more than 600,000 immigrants currently protected by DACA.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, said Tuesday that Democrats will try to pass legislation protecting the immigrants during the Senate lame-duck session.
Sen. Durbin said the appeals court sent the case back to an “unfriendly judge in Texas” for further proceedings, so Congress must act.
“Let’s be very honest and not make any pretense about this. We need 60 votes in the Senate; we need 10 Republicans, we need them to come around,” said Durbin.
The three-judge panel did not dismantle the DACA program. The ruling means no new applicants will be processed, and those already enrolled are still protected from removal.
Illinois 13th Congressional District Republican candidate Regan Deering, who is facing Democrat Nicki Budzinski in the November election, said immigration reform should be a top priority.
“I will definitely have a seat at that table,” Mr. Deering said. “We will talk about outcomes and policies that will, in fact, make everyone feel welcome here and have a path to citizenship when it’s appropriate.”
Several Republican-led states have sued the federal government over the DACA program. Governors allege the program negatively impacts their local economies as they have to cover the costs for DACA recipients’ healthcare and education.