Immigration reform a top issue for DACA recipients, allies in Indiana U.S. Senate race

NOW: Immigration reform a top issue for DACA recipients, allies in Indiana U.S. Senate race


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – President Donald Trump is putting heat on Democrats ahead of November’s midterms.

“A lot people are coming in because they want to take advantage of DACA,” the president told reporters Sunday. “They had a great chance, the Democrats blew it, they had a great, great chance but we’ll have to take a look.”

In a tweet he sent out that same day, the president shut down talks on a DACA deal and encouraged Republicans to take the so-called “nuclear option” to push a bill through.

Impact on Indiana’s U.S. Senate race

Incumbent Sen. Joe Donnelly was in South Bend Monday and told ABC 57 News he is working to resolve the issue.

He also took issue with the president’s statements implying Democrats have chosen not to act on immigration reform.

“There were three, at least, deals put together with the administration on DACA and I was actually a part of one where the president told us before we began working, ‘if you put a deal together, I will sign it,’” said Sen. Donnelly. “The administration then walked away from the very deal they said they would sign.”

Watch Donnelly outline what those deals entailed below:

Proposals off the table

Donnelly voted in favor of four bills that failed to pass the Senate.

The first was a plan by Senators Chris Coons (D) of Delaware and John McCain (R) of Arizona which provided a path to citizenship but did not include funding for a border wall.

The second was an amendment by Sen. Pat Toomey (R) of Pennsylvania, although did not address DACA, would’ve pull funding for sanctuary cities.

The third led by the bipartisan “Common Sense Caucus,” created a plan that would’ve provide a path to citizenship, fund border security and reject the sponsoring of DACA parents.

The last bill by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa would’ve created a path to citizenship, funded a border wall and ended the diversity visa lottery program.

DREAMers push for change ahead of midterms

Meanwhile, local eyes at IUSB are now on Sen. Donnelly as his reelection campaign continues.

Students part of Indiana Dreamers in Action (DIA) rallied last month outside of the senator’s South Bend office ahead of the DACA program’s original March 5 deadline.

“We did not receive that support we were looking for,” DACA recipient and student Luis told ABC 57 News in March. “We’re marching to demand action, to demand him to stick to his community.”

ABC 57 News followed up with a few of the students who participated in that march on Tuesday and they say they’re still not feeling that support from the senator.

“Right after the March, Donnelly actually voted against DREAMERS, he voted with Republicans,” said Luis.

“It was not what I expected from him so it was definitely very disappointing,” said IUSB student and DACA recipient Saira. “I feel like [Congress] don’t have our backs.”

Watch three DACA recipients' reaction to President Trump’s “No More DACA” tweet:

With so much uncertainty for their futures, many of them are finding support on campus.

Cynthia Murphy-Wardlow the Recruitment/Retention Counselor at IUSB works closely with DACA students and says there are quite a few allies willing to help.

“People feel unsettled and the university is doing what we can to provide resources because there doesn’t seem to be any solutions on the horizon,” said Murphy-Wardlow.

Watch her talk about next steps for DREAMers:

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