Biden Outside Group Doubles Down on Dreamers as Harris Meets With Immigrants

Building Back Together, a top outside group approved by the White House, renewed its push on Tuesday advocating for legalizing Dreamers. The effort is tied to Vice President Harris' meeting with care workers and DACA recipients on the ninth anniversary of the creation of the Obama-era program.

The group shared its new ad and a polling memo with Newsweek to underscore its argument that the time is now for legalizing young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children.

The memo says that despite efforts to cancel DACA and target Dreamers during the Trump administration, polling has been consistently strong over the past four years in favor of Dreamers.

It also cites March polling from well-respected Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, who led polling for Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain, which reported that over 75% of voters nationwide support a path to citizenship for Dreamers, including a majority of Republican voters.

"It's rare that we see such strong bipartisan consensus as we do for our Dreamers," Matt Barreto, senior advisor and pollster for Building Back Together, told Newsweek. "For years, support for these young people has reached above 80 percent, and even three-quarters of Republicans embrace the DACA program. On the ninth anniversary of this life-changing program, it's time that we act to make protections for Dreamers permanent by passing the American Dream and Promise Act."

In a conversation with Newsweek, Mayra Macias, the group's chief strategy officer, traced the prolonged fight for immigration reform through her own advocacy, which began 15 years ago in Chicago with Senator Dick Durbin, who will join Vice President Harris and Senator Bob Menendez on Tuesday in their meeting with the six women who work as care professionals.

She said the White House is "aggressively advocating" for that same mission now.

"Immigration is not a siloed issue, it's critical to the broader Build Back Better Agenda, and the White House is centering that intersectionality," she said. "Secretary Walsh met with Voces de la Frontera in Milwaukee, Secretary Buttigieg met with essential workers at DCA airport, and Vice President Harris is meeting with Dreamers today on the DACA anniversary."

But as the group hopes to build pressure to seize the moment on immigration planks like giving DACA recipients status to remain in the country and work legally, the Senate has thus far refused to take up immigration bills that passed in the House.

Harris on Tuesday will call on the Senate to pass two of those bills, the American Dream and Promise Act, which would legalize Dreamers, and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would reform the agricultural guest worker program and create a merit-based visa program designed to enable the more than one million undocumented farm workers to apply.

In the digital ad shared with Newsweek entitled "Once and For All," the narrator makes the case of how Dreamers are a part of daily American life from doctors and soldiers to "essential workers that helped us survive COVID." It puts the onus on Congress to "finally act," since it's been nine years since Biden joined Obama in creating DACA and he sent a bill to Congress early in his presidency that would legalize Dreamers.

Jessica Morales Rocketto, the director of civic engagement for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, told Newsweek it was "historic" to have domestic workers in the White House, and that it was the first time temporary protected status holders ever met with the president and vice president, "at a time when we have an urgent need for citizenship for care workers and all undocumented folks."

"The intersection of care work and immigration couldn't be more relevant as Sen. Durbin holds a hearing on the DREAM and PROMISE Act today and as we push for inclusion of citizenship for DACA recipients, TPS holders, and essential workers in reconciliation," she said.

Kamala Harris Makes Remarks at a Roundtable
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris gives remarks at the top of a roundtable on high-speed internet with members of Congress in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on May 26th, 2021 in Washington, DC. Harris has criticized a Texas bill that would tighten voting restrictions. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images