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Essential Washington

Here's our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington.

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell says fixing DACA is 'no emergency' until March

Amanda Bayer, left with banner, and Marisol Maqueda, right, join a rally in support of so-called "Dreamers" outside the White House. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)
Amanda Bayer, left with banner, and Marisol Maqueda, right, join a rally in support of so-called "Dreamers" outside the White House. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Friday he’s committed to allowing a vote on a bill for so-called “Dreamers” in January, but sees no rush to resolve the deportation threat posed by President Trump’s decision to end a program protecting immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.  

“There isn’t that much of an emergency there,” he said. “There is no emergency until March. We’ll keep talking about it.”

Trump called for phasing out by March the Obama-era program that allows the young immigrants, many of them longtime residents, to get two-year deferrals of any deportation threat so they can legally attend school or work. Beneficiaries must be vetted for security purposes.

Trump told Congress to come up with a legislative alternative for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which President Obama created by executive order, to protect those currently eligible.

A bipartisan Senate group has been working with the White House, but talks stalled this week amid administration demands for curbs on legal immigration flows in exchange for protecting the DACA recipients.

Meanwhile, Dreamers and immigrant advocates stormed the Capitol in recent days pressing for the help promised by Trump and Democratic congressional leaders that failed to materialize in the year’s final legislation.

Advocacy groups say more than 120 immigrants each day are falling out of compliance without DACA renewals, putting them at risk of deportation. The number that is projected to swell to more than 1,000 a day in March.

“We’ve been gridlocked on this issue for years,” McConnell said. “We want to have a signature. We don’t just want to spin our wheels and have nothing to show for it.”

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