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California in Congress

Mimi Walters becomes third California GOP representative to advocate for DACA fix this year

 (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Orange County U.S. Rep. Mimi Walters on Tuesday joined Central Valley congressmen David Valadao and Jeff Denham in urging House Speaker Paul D. Ryan to address the legal status of people brought to the country illegally as children before the end of the year.

“I feel strongly that we take care of the Dreamers in our country and that we try to get them situated as soon as we can,” Walters said. “I think there’s a lot of uncertainty out there for the Dreamers and I want to put that uncertainty at ease and at rest.”

In total, 34 House Republicans sent a letter to Ryan stressing that they support border enforcement and fixing a “broken” immigration system, “but in this moment, we must address the urgent matter before us in a balanced approach that does not harm valuable sectors of our economy nor the lives of these hard-working young people.” The lawmakers didn’t back a particular version of the handful of legislative fixes that have been proposed.

An estimated one-quarter of the 800,000 people who were granted work permits under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program live in California. President Trump announced in September that he would end the program, giving Congress until March to come up with a legislative fix for DACA recipients, also known as Dreamers.

House Republican leaders have said there is plenty of time to address the issue before the March deadline, and Congress has other priorities before the end of the year. Walters said that though she understands Ryan is focused on the tax bill, she hopes a legislative fix for the Dreamers can be found “sooner rather than later.”

Denham said Tuesday that he’s hoping the letter will show GOP congressional leaders that lawmakers want a fast fix.

“We are united in finding a permanent fix for DACA recipients,” Denham said. “We know that we’ve got to get this done and we’d like to get it done by the end of the year.”

Walters, Denham and Valadao are among the Republicans considered vulnerable in next year’s House elections.

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