The federal government remains open despite little movement by lawmakers to help tens of thousands of young people here illegally. But until Republicans start doing something for those facing a Trump-imposed deadline sunsetting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — or DACA — don’t expect yes votes from our local congressmen, Eliot Engel and Adriano Espaillat.
Both voted no on the continuing resolution last week that ended a brief second federal government shutdown, even though Republicans seemed to give in on many issues Democrats were passionate about.
Many, that is, except DACA.
“With no assurances from Speaker (Paul) Ryan that he will allow a clean DACA bill to come to the floor before March 5, Dreamers have once again been treated like a political football by the GOP,” Engel said in a statement. “Their negotiating tactics have been shameful throughout this entire budget process, which is why I voted no on all five continuing resolutions, including the one” last week.
Espaillat took his moments after the budget vote to put a face to the people who would be negatively affected if Congress fails to act to reinstate some form of DACA within the next few weeks.
“My Republican colleagues talk about investing in our economy and investing in our future, yet they have failed to invest in the future of more than 800,000 young people who are making a tremendous impact in our nation every single day,” Espaillat said.
“Dreamers are veterans, teachers, nurses, college students, and Dreamers are also MacArthur Genius Fellows. I have witnessed these young people buy their first cars, graduate from college, embark on competitive and demanding career paths, start families, buy their first homes, and give back to our communities.”
The Obama administration opened the door to allowing children of undocumented immigrants lead productive lives, as long as they meet certain criteria. Donald Trump, however, ended the program last year, which could prevent those who meet the criteria of a Dreamer from remaining in the United States.
The state is no longer fighting a legal battle with the city’s election board, but there will be much more oversight on who election officials remove from voting rolls in the future.
The elections board earned a legal rebuke from state attorney general Eric Schneiderman in January after it was revealed more than 200,000 voters were purged from the rolls. Schneiderman said his office received 1,500 complaints after New York’s presidential primary in April 2016.
A later investigation revealed that more than 100,000 voters were removed simply because they had failed to vote, a violation of both federal and state law. Another 100,000 were removed after their names were run through the National Change of Address database and suspected of moving out of the area. Yet, laws maintain that voters remain on the rolls for at least two federal elections after the elections board gives notice.
The elections board will now have to overhaul its voter registration and list maintenance policies, re-train staff, and submit to regular monitoring and oversight.