Scott joins call for Congress to make DACA program permanent

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President Donald Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, in September. The program, which President Barack Obama established in 2012 by executive order, allowed eligible immigrants to work legally.

Almost 800,000 people have received work visas and exemption from deportation under the program, including 42 in Vermont, according to federal data.

But the government has ceased issuing DACA status. People who had been eligible will be subject to immigration enforcement actions beginning in March.

Scott and 10 other governors on both sides of the aisle, including Ohio Republican John Kasich and Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper, sent a letter to congressional leaders Wednesday urging them to "come together quickly to shape a bipartisan solution" that allows people eligible for the program to stay in the country.

"We stand with these young American immigrants not only because it is good for our communities and a strong American 21st century economy, but also because it is the right thing for our nation to do," the letter states.

DACA recipients are studying in universities and working to support their families and communities, the governors wrote.

"In the absence of congressional action providing for a permanent resolution, the termination of DACA puts these young people and their families in peril, and will destabilize our schools, workplaces and communities," they added.

Democrats in Congress had pressed for action to make DACA permanent by the end of the year.

The program has many Republican supporters as well, including Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. However, the parties disagree over other provisions that some Republicans want included in legislation, such as funding for a border wall — a key promise of Trump's campaign.

A DACA deal seemed increasingly unlikely as Congress worked through an end-of-year logjam, with a pre-Christmas government shutdown looming. Democrats signaled they would back away from their initial timeline, according to The Washington Post.

Will Lambek, of the Vermont-based advocacy group Migrant Justice, urged quick action on DACA.

"The sooner the better, of course," he said.

The group wants Congress to advance legislation that would protect those who had been covered by DACA. But it opposes measures that would result in stricter enforcement against other immigrants or the construction of the border wall, Lambek said.

"It's imperative that Congress act and act quickly to make sure that people remain protected and that Congress not play politics with people's lives," he said.

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