After a three day shutdown, the government resumed its full functioning capacity Jan. 23 with a temporary funding plan that will last until Feb. 8. The race to find a solution for Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals is on, the more the government delays a compromise, the messier the battle will get.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer met with President Donald Trump to discuss the progression of DACA. The desperation shown through as Schumer put down a $20 billion offer for funding for Trump’s border wall. A not-so-great investment, considering the proposed wall would face multiple physical challenges in being built. This plea for DACA by the Democratic senator only proves Republicans have the upper hand in the grapple over the fate of approximately 800,000 youth in America.
This was not lost on Trump or the Republicans. The new immigration deal in the works now requires that the border wall be funded, that so-called ‘chain migration’ and the diversity lottery program be terminated. These three things would effectively instill fear and break apart immigrant families in return for a path to citizenship for Dreamers.
It seems odd the Trump administration wants merit-based immigration, while it is simultaneously unwilling to pass DACA, a program that requires immigrants to not only be educated but also working. Especially for the Dreamers who are enrolled in or who have completed higher education, creating highly educated and trained workers to better our nation as a whole. The Republicans are holding DACA hostage in order to push their oppressive immigration policy through.
The Republicans ploy for leverage does not represent the will of their constituents. In January, 70 percent of Americans support allowing Dreamers to stay in the U.S. This is an increase since September 2017, where 58 percent of voters believed Dreamers should stay. The government’s failure to pass this legislation has resulted in a power battle between parties and has led to an unproductive government. This means DACA has unfortunately moved from being a respected piece of legislation to a poker chip to be shuffled around.
Trump continues to play a sympathetic leader as he continuously promotes supporting the Dreamers. This has added to the rippling effect of support as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would bring back negotiation on important immigration policies, including DACA before the next possible shutdown. In reality, McConnell promised nothing tangible and yet the Democrats think they can hold him to his word. They know better than to hold Trump to his. Furthermore, McConnell’s peace offering is contingent on the Democrats support of the next spending bill on Feb. 8. Once again, the Republicans have the Democrats right where they want them.
With the current political climate, it seems unlikely DACA will pass without funding for a border wall. It comes down to Congress deciding how much they are willing to spend to save the future of DACA — perhaps $25 billion dollars for a border is wall too much. The cost of human lives is at stake, the fear that Dreamers will have for their futures is great and the fear for their families’ futures is even greater if the trade does happen. The tough question of what to do is up to the Republicans. The Democrats have rolled over and submitted to their demands by reopening the government. Clearly, they lack the power to make a change without Republican support.
The Republicans have been tip-toeing around immigration policy for far too long. They are eager to look sympathetic for the Dreamers but turn down every bill brought to them. Time and time again they speak about finding a solution for DACA but time is ticking and they have yet to follow through on their word. It seems more likely now than ever that the Republicans do not want DACA to pass. It is possible that they are playing a waiting game with immigration policy with hopes to delay the DACA decision until after its deadline of March 5.
Emiliana Lopez ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in sociology and environmental science.