On Sunday evening, President Donald Trump announced a list of immigration demands in order to pass a deal on former president Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Among the long wish list was funding for Trump’s central campaign promise - a southern border wall.
After the Trump administration announced the repeal of the DACA program at the beginning of last month, House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, have since met with the former businessman to compromise on a deal that would protect young immigrants known as Dreamers.
However with the release of a Republican supported list from the White House, Democrats do not see these demands as a starting point for negotiation. Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement, “The proposal fails to represent any attempt at a compromise.”
A spokeswoman for the White House, Kelly Love, said: “The president has made clear he wants Congress to act and pass responsible immigration reform in conjunction with any legislation related to DACA, which will include legal authorities to close border security loopholes, restoring interior enforcement, and reforming the legal immigration system.” This will require crackdown of sanctuary cities by withholding federal funding for those cities, adding 10,000 more Custom and Border Patrol agents, and expediting deportation.
According to ABC News, the controversy over border wall funding raises the potential for a government shutdown just before Christmas if Democrats withhold support for budget bills. Many Democrats want to attach the Dream Act to that must-pass budget package.
Although the future of Dreamers is unclear, Trump has given Congress six months to act. If a bipartisan deal is not reached, 800,000 DACA beneficiaries could begin to lose benefits starting March 2018.
New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus said: “It is immoral for the president to use the lives of these young people as bargaining chips in his quest to impose his cruel, anti-immigrant and un-American agenda on our nation.”
While there is wide support for a deal to protect DREAMers, both parties are holding the lives of these young people in peril with the threat of hidden agendas.