More Than 50 Civic Groups Urge Congress To Fix DACA, CHIP And Puerto Rico By January 19

The Center for American Progress, the ACLU and the NAACP are some of the organizations telling Republican and Democratic leaders those three issues are priorities

The United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building.

More than 50 civic and human rights groups sent Thursday a letter to Congressional leaders demanding that they urgently provide a solution for the potential termination of the DACA program and the re-authorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as ensure relief to parts of the United States impacted by natural disasters in 2017.

The Center for American Progress, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) are three of the organizations that sign the letter, which is addressed to the Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi (respectively), and in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell and Charles ‘Chuck' Schumer (respectively).

The groups underline that DACA, CHIP and disaster relief are the “priorities” that must be solved by January 19th, which is the date by which Congress must pass legislation to avoid a government shutdown.

Neera Tanden, CEO of the Center for American Progress, noted in a news release that “Congressional Republicans need to figure out if they care more about partisan politics or protecting people.”

“The key elements of any long-term spending bill — from reauthorizing CHIP for 9 million children to providing electricity for nearly 700,000 Puerto Ricans living in darkness and shielding every Dreamer now in danger of deportation — are issues that the vast majority of the American public supports. The facts are simple, the need is urgent, and the time for action is now,” Tanden added.

The part of the letter that addresses the need to protect DACA recipients from potential deportation when the Obama-era program is terminated –which is what the Trump Administration intends to do— notes that “(...) We know these young people.” “We work with them and pray with them, and our children are educated alongside them and by them in our schools,” the letter adds.

The letter also underscores the situation of victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and points out that “electricity still has not been restored for more than 660,000 power customers on the island.”

Finally, regarding the re-authorization of CHIP, the groups assure in their letter that “(...) The small patches that Congress passed twice in December do nothing to provide the stability that patients and health care providers need to ensure proper continuity of care.”

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