Washington, D.C. - In the wake of three massive hurricanes that have disrupted the lives of millions of Americans, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined a group of 38 U.S. Senators this week to call on the Trump administration to extend the crucial October 5 deadline for Dreamers to renew their Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (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 DACA program, which allows some immigrants who came 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 are due by October 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 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), tens of thousands of DACA recipients live in areas affected by the storms.
Earlier this month, Bennet spoke on the Senate floor in support of Dreamers and cosponsored the Dream Act of 2017. In July, Bennet and his Democratic colleagues sent a letter to President Trump urging him to use his executive authority to protect DACA. In 2016, Bennet filed a Congressional amicus brief to the Supreme Court in support of DAPA and DACA+. Bennet also was a member of the Gang of Eight, a group of bipartisan senators that drafted and secured passage of comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. Senate in 2013.
Click HERE for a copy of the letter.