President Obama will host a half-dozen Dreamers — illegal immigrants here under his temporary deportation amnesty — at the White House on Wednesday as he tries to fight back against Republicans’ efforts to cancel his immigration policies.
A White House official said the president would meet with Dreamers from Texas, Maryland, Nevada, Connecticut, New York and Virginia, using them as evidence for why congressional Republicans should relent and allow his amnesties to remain in effect.
“The meeting takes place as Congressional Republicans are threatening to block funding for critical national security priorities for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) because they disagree with the President’s executive actions to make our immigration system smarter, fairer, and more effective,” the White House official said.
“Instead of working with Democrats and the president to fix our broken immigration system, Congressional Republicans’ funding proposal makes things worse by undercutting our efforts to strengthen security at the border and by focusing our enforcement resources on deporting low priority individuals like the young Dreamers who are meeting with the president.”
Dreamers are illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children by their parents, and are considered the most sympathetic figures in the illegal immigration debate. Mr. Obama in 2012 announced an executive action granting an amnesty to them. Then late last year he announced a new amnesty that both expanded the Dreamer program and created a new amnesty for Illegal immigrant parents whose children are either citizens or legal permanent residents.
Congressional Republicans say Mr. Obama has overstepped his powers in granting tentative legal status and work permits, saying only Congress has that power. They passed a bill that cancels both the 2012 and 2014 amnesties, while providing funding for the rest of the Homeland Security Department.
GOP leaders said even Mr. Obama himself repeatedly said he didn’t have the power to grant legal status — before reversing himself and claiming that power.
Democrats say Mr. Obama had to act because the House GOP refused to pass a bill.
More than 600,000 Dreamers have already been granted tentative legal status and work permits, and Democrats have even hired some of them to work on Capitol Hill as a symbolic gesture of solidarity.
The administration predicts as many as 4 million others could be eligible for the new amnesty — though less than half of those eligible are expected to apply, according to both administration projections and calculations by the Congressional Budget Office.