Some Democrats in the House of Representatives have threatened a shutdown of the federal government unless Congress creates new legislation to protect the former recipients of DACA.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program – often referred to simply by its acronym, DACA – was ended by President Donald Trump on Thursday.
The decision was criticized by liberal and conservative politicians alike.
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both praised the decision to return DACA to the legislature. In separate but similar statements, the two men lambasted President Obama for allegedly overstepping his authority in the issuance of an executive order which gave nearly one million ‘Dreamers’ a legal foothold in the country.
In the days following DACA’s rescinding, the president issued a series of conflicting statements about what might be in store for Dreamers.
The commander-in-chief quickly cast off responsibility for the immigrants to Congress, which has a March 2018 deadline for instituting reform before some Dreamers would become eligible for deportation.
Trump has historically had a hard time keeping his rhetoric on DACA straight.
While running for office during the 2016 presidential election, then-candidate Trump promised to rescind DACA almost immediately after taking office.
By spring and early summer of 2017, the commander-in-chief’s perspective seems to have evolved: he told Dreamers to “rest easy,” considering his “big heart” for immigrants who work hard and follow the law.
Yesterday, he said that he was willing to revisit an executive solution if the House or Senate don’t act on introducing any bill within the next six months.
No matter the late concessions offered, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) threatened a December shutdown of the government if new protections for Dreamers aren’t made a legislative priority.
“We will shut it down or let Republicans keep it open with their own votes,” said the congressman.
“The vast majority of members in the Democratic Caucus are ready to say that if there is no pathway forward for Dreamers, then there is no government for anyone,” Gutierrez relayed.
Liberal politicians in the Senate indicated they’re willing to negotiate with the GOP over what protections must be extended to Dreamers by the end of the year.
“I think what you’ll find – I know what you’ll find – is that starting next week there is going to be a more specific conversation,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) on Thursday. “We’re going to get some ideas.”
Durbin was one of the leading authors of the 2012 DREAM Act.