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Senate Dems sponsor bill to allow DACA recipients to get paid Capitol Hill internships

Currently these internships and jobs are only open to US citizens and legal residents

Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Three Democratic senators are introducing a bill that would make it legal for the children of illegal immigrants to accept paid internships and jobs on Capitol Hill.

Who are the dreamers?

Dreamers are the children of illegal immigrants who were brought across the border into the United States when they were too young to make that decision on their own. Advocates argue that these children should not be held responsible for the crimes of their parents, while critics have voiced concern that granting legal status to Dreamers will only encourage illegal immigrants to bring children with them across the U.S. border.

In 2014, then-President Barack Obama signed an executive order granting protections to Dreamers, creating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Republicans criticized the move as executive overreach and questioned the president's authority to make such changes.

When he was elected, President Donald Trump issued an executive order of his own revoking these protections. However, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked this from taking effect, and the Supreme Court has yet to weigh in on the case. In February 2018, Trump offered to give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship if Democrats in Congress gave him money for a border wall.

What happened now?

The American Dream Employment Act will be introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) and presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). It's also co-sponsored by 18 other senators, including presidential hopefuls Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) has already introduced similar legislation in the House of Representatives. Currently U.S. law requires Capitol Hill interns and employees to be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

According to a news release from Harris, these new guidelines would "apply solely to employment in the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate."

In a tweet, Harris said that "DREAMers are American in every way but on paper. They grew up here, serve in our military & contribute to our economy. And they should not be prevented from serving their country on Capitol Hill."

One last thing…
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