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McSally named to GOP working group on DACA, border security

U.S. Rep. Martha McSally has been picked by House Speaker Paul Ryan for an "informal group" of Republican members of Congress to work on border security and DACA legislation.

"I have long stated that it is the duty and responsibility of Congress to address the future of (DACA) legislatively," McSally said in a news release. "We were robbed of the opportunity to do so when President Obama overstepped his authority and issued his June 2012 memorandum."

"President Trump is right to call on Congress to act, and I believe this is a historic opportunity bring clarity for the 800,000 individuals whose status in the United (States - sic) is currently subject to the political winds of different administrations that come to power," McSally said in the release from her office.

McSally, a Republican in her second term, is the chairwoman of the House Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee.

"Since taking office, I’ve made it a top priority to improve our border strategy and make our communities safer. I have witnessed first-hand the challenges to securing our border and look forward to collaborating on a multifaceted approach including infrastructure, personnel, and technology," she said Friday.

The Trump administration announced last week that it would end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama-era program that shielded about 788,000 people from deportation.

Days earlier, McSally joined nine other lawmakers to argue for a legislative solution to the problem.

In a letter to Ryan, McSally and others wrote that they were "willing and ready to find a solution no matter what action is taken by President Trump in the coming days and encourage you to work with us as soon as possible to do so."

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Following last Tuesday's announcement, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva called the rescission of DACA "heartless" and said that he, along with 116 members of the Democratic caucus had signed on to the American Hope Act, which grants conditional permanent residency to DACA recipients. A similar bill was issued in the Senate in July.

The federal government will no longer accept new applications, said Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and DACA recipients will not be immediately affected. Instead, the acting head of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has chosen to "orderly wind down" the program.

As part of the plan outlined by Sessions, DACA permits that expire between now and March 5, 2018, can be renewed for a two years before October 5.

In a memo of talking points released internally to DHS, the agency said that the six month gap was a "limited window" and that DACA recipients should be urged to "use the time remaining on their work authorizations to prepare for and arrange their departure to the United States."

Around 197,000 DACA recipients should be able to renew their permits before March 5, however, another 592,000 people will see their permits expire before the deadline, according to an analysis by the Cato Institute, using data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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Betty Beard/TucsonSentinel.com

McSally on election night last November.