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DACA ruling jolts Dems' urgency to pass Dreamer bill

Data: Migration Policy Institute, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The fate of roughly 80,000 people who applied for but hadn't been approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program rests with Congress — and the Senate parliamentarian.

Why it matters: A federal judge Friday blocked roughly 500,000 to 700,000 unauthorized immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from participating in DACA and receiving its deportation protections. Nothing changed — for now — for the more than 600,000 active DACA recipients.


By the numbers: California, Texas and Florida have the largest number of immigrants qualified for DACA but not actively enrolled in the program. That's based on data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which handles legal immigration, and the Migration Policy Institute's December estimates of DACA-eligible populations by state.

  • California, Texas and Illinois have the greatest number of active DACA recipients.
  • As of the end of March, 81% of DACA recipients were from Mexico, and 9% were from the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador).
  • Most are now in their 20s.

What they're saying: Multiple Democratic Senate aides told Axios that last week's ruling heightened the urgency to pass pathways to citizenship for so-called Dreamers.

  • Even before the ruling, Democrats planned to include pathways for Dreamers, Temporary Protected Status holders and essential workers in their sweeping $3.5-trillion, "soft" infrastructure reconciliation package.
  • That would allow them to pass the provisions with a simple majority.

What to watch: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has set Wednesday as a deadline for Democrats to come to an agreement on the general framework of the bill, which includes immigration.

  • Details of the bill — including specifics on pathways for undocumented immigrants — likely won't be available until late September or early October, one Democratic Senate aide familiar with the negotiations said.

But, but, but: There's a chance the Senate parliamentarian says immigration changes can't be passed through a budget reconciliation process.

  • That happened earlier this year with the Democrats' effort to raise the minimum wage.

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