Stanton's new bill would allow DACA recipients to work on Capitol Hill

Published: Wednesday, March 8, 2023 - 5:29pm

A bill co-introduced by Congressman Greg Stanton of Arizona seeks to allow DACA recipients to work on Capitol Hill.

Since being enacted in 2012, Obama-era program has given more than 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children protection from deportation and a work permit.

But DACA doesn’t offer a pathway to citizenship and the work authorization doesn’t apply to all jobs. Stanton says he ran into the problem himself, in 2018.

"One of my most talented individuals that worked on my campaign happened to be a Dreamer, and I would have hired her in a heartbeat," he said. 

But he wasn’t able to, because under current law, only U.S. citizens or those with permanent residency are allowed to work for members of Congress. 

Stanton says the new American Dream Employment Act aims to change that. The measure would lift the current ban on employing DACA recipients and immigrants with Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Stanton introduced the measure with Rep. Pete Aguilar of California this month. 

He says a previous version of the bill made it through the House but failed during budget negotiations in the Senate. He says he hopes this Congressional session can get the measure passed.

"We in Congress want to have the benefit of having these people in our offices because their lived experience makes us better ... members of Congress, we understand better the implications of immigration and immigration reform when you have someone who has lived it him or herself right there in your office," he said.