Senate Dems Won’t Get Pre-Christmas DACA Fix, Won’t Shut It Down


Senate Democrats look incapable of mustering the votes to filibuster a spending deal this week that doesn’t resolve the plight of Dreamers.

Some lawmakers in the caucus aren’t willing to use the latest ongoing spending fight to force Congress to guarantee status to Dreamers—roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, given temporary protection from deportation by the Obama administration.

The delay is leading to the loss of status for tens of thousands of those who were granted temporary reprieves, party critics are warning.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September that Dreamers’ status–Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)–would expire in March.

Senators from both parties and White House officials have been reportedly negotiating a solution that could come up for a vote in January.

Politico reported on Tuesday that negotiators “could not fully flesh out a deal before they knew what Trump was willing to sign.” A plan is now being finalized and could be revealed within a few days.

“Congressional Republicans and the White House have long said any DACA deal would need to be paired with security and other enforcement measures,” the paper also noted.

On Friday, the federal government is scheduled to run out of money yet again—after the expiration of temporary funding, passed two weeks earlier. Congressional Republicans look set to propose another short-term fix: a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open until Jan. 19.

As The Washington Post reported on Monday, a handful of moderate Senate Democrats are refusing to use this week’s spending legislation to force Republicans to rapidly resolve the disarray for Dreamers caused by the Trump administration in the autumn.

“We’ve got to get it done, but I’m not drawing a line in the sand that it has to be this week versus two weeks from now,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told the paper.

“I will exercise every bit of leverage I can for the Dream Act, but if there is a vote that would lead to a shutdown, that’s where I draw the line,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).

The Post also noted there was opposition to engineer a shutdown from Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) might not side with the pro-filibuster faction. All but eight Senate Democrats must be united in opposition to filibuster government funding legislation.

Members of the Senate Democratic Caucus who are willing to force a shutdown over Dreamers’ plight, include Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

“No, there isn’t ‘plenty of time’ to pass the Dream Act. 30,000 Dreamers will lose their legal status each month,” Warren said Tuesday on Twitter.

An analysis published in November by the liberal Center for American Progress estimated that 22,000 Dreamers have already lost their status, as a result of an October deadline for renewal set weeks before by the Trump administration.

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Since 2010, Sam Knight's work has appeared in Truthout, Washington Monthly, Salon, Mondoweiss, Alternet, In These Times, The Reykjavik Grapevine and The Nation. In 2012, he worked as a producer for The Alyona Show on RT. He has written extensively about political movements that emerged in Iceland after the 2008 financial collapse, and is currently working on a book about the subject.


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