DACA holders safe for now
The nearly 700,000 illegal immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program remain safe from deportation days after the Trump administration’s established cutoff point.
Court injunctions blocked President Donald Trump from winding down the program as planned March 5. Multiple DACA cases are pending in court, and the injunctions have sustained the program until a final ruling is issued.
Earlier this week, a federal judge in Maryland ruled in favor of ending DACA, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cleared all doubt about what that means for the participants.
DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement Wednesday that the department is still processing DACA renewal requests and is not targeting beneficiaries for deportation.
Trump announced the end of DACA in September and gave lawmakers until March 5 to find a solution for immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as minors. Congress failed to pass any immigration bill and is now aiming to take action by the next spending deadline of March 23.
Republicans and Democrats both want to protect DACA holders from deportation, but other areas of immigration policy, including border security measures and the visa lottery system, continue to create divides.
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., introduced a bill to preserve DACA for the next three years in exchange for three years of border security funding, buying more time for a comprehensive reform bill. Flake spoke on the Senate floor Tuesday urging his colleagues not to forget about DACA.
Houlton echoed that statement: “We believe Congress should find a permanent solution for the DACA population and will continue to work with Congress to that end.” —E.W.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act, a law prohibiting some government officials from political campaigning while working, during television interviews last year, the Office of Special Counsel said Tuesday. The federal ethics watchdog delivered a report highlighting Conway’s alleged infractions to President Donald Trump, who must now decide if and how he will discipline his former campaign manager. The report states Conway broke the law during two interviews, one in November on Fox News and another in December on CNN. Conway appeared on the shows in her official capacity as White House counselor to boost Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and discuss why voters shouldn’t support Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. “During both interviews, she impermissibly mixed official government business with political views about candidates in the Alabama special election,” special counsel Henry Kerner wrote. Penalties for Hatch Act infringements can range from a fine of $1,000 to removal from office. One violation under the Obama administration resulted in additional training for an aide, according to Bloomberg News. The White House denied Conway did anything wrong. —E.W.
No rest for the weary
A bloc of House Democrats wants to stop lawmakers from sleeping in their offices. It’s common practice for members to work late nights and opt to spend the night in their offices rather than dishing out money for a hotel or renting a piece of real estate in Washington, D.C. Many Republicans—including House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Andy Barr of Kentucky, and Kristi Noem of South Dakota—mention sleeping in their offices to showcase their thriftiness. Politico obtained a previously unreported letter this week delivered in December from 30 Congressional Black Caucus members requesting an ethics review on the practice. The letters writers say sleeping in government offices is an inappropriate use of taxpayer property for personal reasons. The House Ethics Committee has not responded, and the letter signers are considering crafting a follow-up, according to Politico. —E.W.