Almost four months after President Donald Trump cast Dreamers into an uncertain future, Congress fears their plight may trigger a government shutdown.
In September, the commander-in-chief terminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, placing the onus to find a fix on lawmakers. Despite making numerus promises to DACA recipients that they could “rest easy,” Trump rescinded the program after a coalition of conservative attorneys general threatened to sue over its continued existence.
Now, hundreds of thousands of DACA beneficiaries could be eligible for deportation in the coming years. Provided short-term, renewable visas to work and reside on American shores, the program’s cancelation was announced without any viable alternative available in Congress.
Politico.com reports that tensions over the matter have escalated in both chambers of the national legislature.
Conservatives are purportedly weary of proposing a remedy to the canceled Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program into an end-of-the-year spending bill. Republicans leaders have pressured House Speaker Paul Ryan to delay negotiations until 2018, giving the political Right an opportunity to stack talks in their favor.
Nevertheless, prominent politicians on both sides of the aisle have taken on the cause of Dreamers as an immediate concern.
Even as Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have avoided committing to a government shutdown, other representatives and senators have demanded just that if a deal isn’t reached by the year’s end.
“We want a clean Dream Act,” said Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D). “That is what it’s going to take for me and others to sign on.”
The Dream Act Gutierrez referred to was a failed Obama-era proposal that would have paved a pathway for citizenship for DACA beneficiaries, colloquially known as Dreamers.
Pelosi also has deigned to make DACA a priority.
“We will not leave here without the Dream Act passing, with a DACA fix,” she said earlier in November. “We’re not kicking the can down to March.”
But Politico suggests that both Democratic and Republican leaders may be worried – signing off on a quick DACA fix could spell ruin for anti-immigration conservatives, while liberals may suffer in the upcoming elections if their inaction leads to a government shutdown.
The website also reports that some Republican lawmakers are pressing their seniors to get DACA out of the way – and fast.
“I want to see it done by the end of the year,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo, a Cuban-descended politician trying to broker a compromise. “We don’t want this to spill into next year. No. 1, that means more drama here. It means a lot of worried young people and a lot of anxiety.”
Meanwhile, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have said they don’t want to see any immigration issues on the end-of-year spending bill.
Right now, neither party seems to have a clear angle – and President Trump hasn’t provided much in the way of guidance.
Since signing off on a DACA repeal, the commander-in-chief has repeatedly flip-flopped on a possible fix for anxious Dreamers.
After making a deal with Democratic leaders to sign off on legislation saving Dreamers in exchange for a moderate increase in border security funding, Trump reneged, saying lawmakers would have to include money for a proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.