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Portman Says It's Too Early To Speculate On DACA Vote

Rob Portman speaking
Gage Skidmore
Flickr Creative Commons

Ohio's Republican U.S. Senator, Rob Portman, says he cannot know how he will vote on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until a full bill is presented.

Signed by former President Barack Obama, the executive order extended temporary legal status to young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children. Approximately 700,000 people are registered under DACA.

President Trump announced last year the program will end, meaning expired DACA permits are no longer renewable after March 5. But his order was recentlyheld up by a federal court, protecting DACA recipients while a lawsuit from supporters is pending. 

Portman says he can’t say how he’ll vote until a bill is presented, but he supports finding a legislative solution.

"It depends what else is added to it," Portman says. "There’s all kinds of different discussions of more enforcement and other things being added to it, so we need to see what the full package is."

In terms of increased border security, Portman says the president is looking for a combination of additional physical barriers, surveillance technology, and more border agents. But he says the courts agree with him that a DACA solution should be the responsibility of Congress, not the president. 

“That’s why the administration has told Congress, ‘You should do it. And we’ll give you until March 5 to do it.’ I support resolving DACA and I support doing it certainly before March 5, before there’s any kind of question that we would not meet that deadline," Portman says. "In fact, February 8 in my view is the new deadline."

The continuing resolution currently funding the government will expire February 8. 

Sen. Sherrod Brown and other Senate Democrats continue to press for a bill to address the fate of DACA recipients, also known as DREAMers.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.