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Congressman Kihuen Says Congress Must Act to Protect DACA Recipients

Activists marched to Trump Tower in New York in anticipation of President Donald Trump's elimination of the DACA program.
Albin Lohr-Jones/Getty Images

Activists marched to Trump Tower in New York in anticipation of President Donald Trump's elimination of the DACA program.

Congressman Ruben Kihuen was featured in the Washington Post this past weekend. He is one of two members of Congress who came to this country without documentation.

He and his colleague, Adriano Espaillat, signed a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to consider their life stories before deciding to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (or DACA) program.

Trump announced Tuesday – after receiving the letter, and many others from Congress – that he was going to end DACA in six months, kicking the ball to Congress to come up with immigration reform by March 5.

Now, Kihuen says Congress needs to get something done.

"I am calling on my colleagues on both Republican and Democratic sides to put their rhetoric aside and actually come up with a solution for these young Americans," Kihuen said.

Whether Congress will actually be able to get anything accomplished is another story. Kihuen said lawmakers had a chance in 2013 to pass comprehensive immigration reform but didn't.

"The Speaker at that time choose not to bring it up and the bill died," he said, "So, now we're having to deal with these Bandaids on a broken leg."

Kihuen is hopeful that this time around Congress will be able to get something done on immigration.

The congressman also pointed out that those covered under DACA are "hard working Americans" who are contributing to society and he added that he is actually a dreamer, which is the name given to people who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

"I am one of the original dreamers before the term dreamer even existed," he said, "But because this country has compassion because this country had an immigration system back then that actually worked I was able to adjust my status become a legal resident and then become a legal citizen. And then just two years after becoming a legal citizen, I ran for office."

Since much of what is going to happen to DACA recipients is up in the air right now, Kihuen advises people to get as much information as they can because nothing is guaranteed.


Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-NV, Fourth Congressional District

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(EDITOR'S NOTE: Carrie Kaufman no longer works for KNPR News. She left in April 2018)