Six months into his second term in the U.S. House, U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, D-Fla., is starting to prove himself a force in the Democratic majority as his proposal allowing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, better known as “DREAMers,” to work for the federal government cleared the House. Soto also was able to include more than 55 proposals in the federal minibus that passed the House last week.
Soto had pushed the U.S. House Appropriations Committee to let DREAMers work for the feds.
“The DACA program already grants Employment Authorization Cards (work permits) for its recipients. Yet under current law, only U.S. citizens can work for the federal government, with limited exceptions,” Soto’s office noted.
“Our office has been honored to host several talented DREAMers as interns. These young people were bright, hardworking, and offered our office a diverse perspective that was invaluable to better represent our community,” said Soto. “It is unfair that our office, or any other federal agency already hosting DACA recipients as interns, are unable under law to pay them for their impressive work or eventually offer employment. We recognized this injustice and requested the appropriations bill include language to open the door for DREAMers who wish to continue serving our country.”
Soto was able to include the proposal as part of the financial service and general government agencies appropriations bill.
“Over 800,000 DACA recipients would be eligible to work in the federal government once this legislation is enacted into law. In Florida alone, DACA has allowed more than 27,000 eligible young people to live, work legally in the United States, and pay over $77.5 million in state and local taxes annually,” Soto’s office noted.
Soto also scored some wins with 56 items in the appropriations minibus passed this week.
“I’m proud to have another successful round of legislation passed to improve the lives of veterans and protecting the environment, as well as provide funding for technological advances and bring higher paying jobs back to our district,” said Soto. “Our funding priorities in these appropriation bills upholds the voices of Central Florida’s families – this is what action ‘For the People’ looks like!”
Soto pointed to more funds for housing for the elderly through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD, having the VA create a pilot program for veterans suffering from PTSD using “modeling and simulation program based off of the “University of Central Florida’s (UCF’s) RESTORES” program, having the VA list servicemembers exposed to Agent Orange in Vietmam and Mad Cow disease in Europe, have the USDA do more to crack down on mosquitoes, do more to take on citrus greening and toxic algae and supporting NASA.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.