Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) called for Congress to immediately enact a permanent solution to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program imposed by former President Obama and now rescinded by President Trump.
In order to reach a quick resolution, Collins is co-sponsoring H.R. 1468, the Recognizing America's Children (RAC) Act, introduced by Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL).
The RAC Act provides five year conditional legal status to undocumented immigrants brought into the United States as minors if they obtain a higher education, maintain continual employment, or serve in the United States military. These individuals are eligible for permanent legal status if they continue to demonstrate good moral character, including maintaining a clean criminal record and staying off government assistance for five years.
"Nearly 800,000 minors were illegally brought into this country by their parents. President Obama superseded the authority of Congress by issuing an executive order that was a temporary patch and provided no certainty to these children," said Collins. "President Trump properly rescinded the Obama DACA program which protected illegal immigrants without Congressional approval."
Collins said many of the immigration problems the nation is now facing are a direct result of the porous borders under the Obama Administration when millions of immigrants illegally entered the United States, bringing their minor children with them.
Now, President Trump has referred the matter to Congress for legislative action and to send a bill to his desk to be signed into law that gives these young people, so-called Dreamers, certainty with permanent legal work status. At the same time, Congress needs to make sure our borders are secure.
"Just like President Trump and other Members of Congress, I recognize that these young men and women were brought to our county illegally, with no fault of their own," said Collins. "I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to create long-term certainty for these individuals."
Collins also said it was time for comprehensive immigration reform to address areas such as H-2A and H-2B visas granted to temporary farm workers. In addition, he said it was time to address the estimated 12 million illegal individuals in the country.
"I'm a strong supporter of comprehensive immigration reform that keeps our borders secure and allows farmers to access a willing and available labor force. We need to use this opportunity to address the larger immigration issues facing our nation but cannot award citizenship to adults that enter our country illegally. Labor from undocumented workers is critical to Western New York's agriculture community and we need to give these individuals the ability to gain legal work status."