Democrats are considering a government shutdown to defend hundreds of thousands of Dreamers from deportation.
Politico.com reports that California Sen. Kamala Harris (CA) raised the prospect of a shutdown if liberal demands aren’t met.
The 2020 presidential hopeful said that any end-of-the-year budget would have to include protections for the former beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Under the Obama-era action, individuals who were brought to the United States illegally and as children were provided temporary residency and work permits.
Only applicants who met certain requirements could be approved as Dreamers. Among other things, prospective DACA recipients had to pass criminal background checks, have obtained a certain level of education or served in the U.S. armed forces.
According to Politico, Republicans will need Democratic votes to pass legislation to keep the government funded.
And – unfortunately for conservatives who have adopted the president’s harsh stance on Dreamers – other Democrats have voiced their support for Sen. Harris’ plan.
“It’d be very difficult for me to support the end-of-the-year bill, whatever that may be, if DACA has not been taken care of,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD). “If we can’t take care of the Dreamers, I think it jeopardizes America’s standing on our principle strength: our values.”
Negotiations on the future of Dreamers changed abruptly over President Trump’s flip-flopping.
The commander-in-chief originally made a deal with Democratic leaders to support protections for Dreamers in exchange for moderate additions to border security funding.
Last month, Trump announced that he wouldn’t sign off on immigration reform unless money were included for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The sudden about-face came as a surprise to Democrats, who thought the matter had been settled.
However, not every left-leaning member of the legislature is ready for talks of a government shutdown.
“It is a topic we are not raising at this point, because we hope we don’t even need to think about it,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). “But I tell you, everyone I’ve spoken to – starting with me – are very serious this has to be done this year.”
Unless the predicament of Dreamers is addressed within the next year, thousands would suddenly find themselves in the precarious situation of being truly undocumented – their residency and work permits would expire, and they’d face deportation.
Due to the nature of DACA, many of its beneficiaries have never known a home outside the United States.
Meanwhile, a handful of influential Republicans in the Senate have begun crafting their own plan, with the hopes of appeasing Dreamers, Democrats, and Donald Trump alike.
Among the suggestions being touted are restrictions on “chain migration,” as well as increased border security packages and funding.
Democrats have nevertheless insisted they’re unwilling to sign off on any bill or budget that includes money for President Trump’s contentious border wall.