Bill aims to let DACA recipients work on Capitol Hill

Democrats want recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to be able to work on Capitol Hill.

As President Donald Trump threatens to shut down the Southern border, a group of Democrats is pushing to make changes to a little-known law that keeps recipients of the DACA program from being able have paid internships and jobs in congressional offices in Washington.

Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada and Dick Durbin of Illinois will introduce legislation Wednesday that would overturn that law and allow DACA recipients to get paid on Capitol Hill.

The American Dream Employment Act will amend current law that says House and Senate employment is limited only to those who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents already moving toward citizenship.

According to the Congressional Research Service, annual appropriations rules “restrict federal employment eligibility for most non-US citizens, including DACA recipients.”

Harris, who’s running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020, said in a statement she believes “government works best when it reflects the people it represents.”

“The giant sign outside my office says ‘DREAMers Welcome Here’ because we know and value the contributions that these young people have made to their communities,” the California senator said in a statement. “But right now, those same young people are banned from giving back to their country by working for Congress. That has to change,”

“Our nation’s Dreamers are some of our best and brightest, and it’s time they had the opportunity to get a job or paid internship on Capitol Hill,” the statement continued.

Democratic Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick introduced the companion legislation to this bill on the House side earlier this year.