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34 GOP Lawmakers to Ryan: Save DACA Beneficiaries Before End of the Year

Activists supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and other immigration issues gather near Trump Tower in New York on Aug. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

WASHINGTON — Thirty-four House Republicans sent a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) calling for a solution to save 800,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals beneficiaries from deportation before the end of the year.

The letter, led by Rep. Scott Taylor (R-Va.), stresses the lawmakers’ demand for “a permanent legislative solution” for “young people brought to America through no fault of their own” and “are contributing members of our communities and our economy.”

“For many, this is the only country they have ever known,” they added. “They are American in every way except their immigration status.”

The GOPs noted that “an overwhelming majority” of DACA beneficiaries have enrolled in school, found jobs or served in the military. “Studies have shown that passing legislation to permanently protect these individuals would add hundreds of billions to our country’s gross domestic product (GDP),” they wrote. “That is why the business community, universities, and civic leaders alike support a permanent legislative solution.”

The Republicans said Congress is “compelled to act immediately because many DACA recipients are about to lose or have already lost their permits in the wake of the program’s rescission.”

“Not acting is creating understandable uncertainty and anxiety amongst immigration communities. While we firmly believe Congress must work to address other issues within our broken immigration system, it is imperative that Republicans and Democrats come together to solve this problem now and not wait until next year. We all agree that our border must be enforced, our national security defended, and our broken immigration system reformed, but in this moment, we must address the urgent matter before us in a balanced approach that does not harm valuable sectors of our economy nor the lives of these hard-working young people,” the letter continued.

“We must pass legislation that protects DACA recipients from deportation and gives them the opportunity to apply for a more secured status in our country as soon as possible. Reaching across the aisle to protect DACA recipients before the holidays is the right thing to do.”

In addition to Taylor, signatories on the letter were Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.), Mia Love (R-Utah), Mark Amodei (R-Nev.), David Valadao (R-Calif.), Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.), Peter King (R-N.Y.), Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Ryan Costello (R-Pa.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), John Faso (R-N.Y.), John Katko (R-N.Y.), Chris Stewart (R-Utah), Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.), Mike Simspon (R-Idaho), Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), Leonard Lance (R-Pa.), Pat Meehan (R-Pa.), Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon (R-Puerto Rico), Joe Barton (R-Texas), Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine).

Amodei last week signed House Democrats’ discharge petition to force the DREAM Act to the floor for a vote.

Ryan said at a Thursday press conference on Capitol Hill, “Do we have to have a DACA resolution? Yes, we do.”

“The deadline’s March, as far as I understand it. We’ve got other deadlines in front of that, like fiscal year deadlines and appropriation deadlines,” he added.

Ryan said Democrats aren’t “in a very good position to be making demands” and if they “want to get to a solution, they ought to come to the table and start talking.”