Sens. Murray, Cantwell Call for Extension of DACA Renewal Deadline in Wake of Storms

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the wake of three massive storms that have disrupted the day-to-day lives of millions of people in the United States, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) along with 36 of their U.S. Senate colleagues called on the Trump administration to extend the crucial Oct. 5 deadline for Dreamers to renew their DACA status.

The group made the request in a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke.

“These major hurricanes significantly disrupted day-to-day living and operations in these states and territories,” the lawmakers wrote. “It would be appropriate for the government to extend the October 5, 2017 deadline nationwide to allow individuals adequate time to meet the government’s recent request.”

The Trump administration announced earlier this month that it was ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program which allows some immigrants who were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16 to work and go to school without the fear of being deported.

In ending the program, the administration is allowing some Dreamers currently enrolled to apply for a renewal. Those renewal applications and a $495 fee must be received by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by Oct. 5, and the lawmakers fear the recent disruptions caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria could make it nearly impossible for some eligible Dreamers to meet the deadline.

“Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico are still working to recover and will be for some time,” the lawmakers wrote. “An extension of the deadline would provide DACA recipients more time to collect the $495 application fee and gather the necessary documents to accurately complete the renewal application.”

According to the USCIS, tens of thousands of DACA recipients live in areas impacted by the storms.

Sens. Murray and Cantwell, along with Reps. Adam Smith (WA-9) and Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), recently held a press conference at Bellevue College with Dreamers, urging Republicans to work with Democrats on a legislative fix to make the DACA program permanent and end the uncertainty for DACA recipients. More than 17,800 DACA recipients live in Washington state. The Democratic members of Washington state’s congressional delegation also sent a letter to President Trump on September 5th urging him to reconsider his reckless decision to repeal DACA and ensure that Dreamers’ application information is not used for immigration enforcement.  

In addition to Sens. Murray and Cantwell, the letter was signed by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

A PDF copy of the letter is available here