In the face of another government shutdown, a temporary extension of DACA protections could be implemented as Congress continues to negotiate immigration reform. According to Politico, an option that is becoming more realistic is imposing a one-year extension, doing nothing to permanently solve the DACA issue that President Trump brought on, in exchange for border security funding.
Senators are dismissing the proposal as “misguided,” with Sen. Lindsey Graham saying, “that’d be a real loss,” but the persisting rift between Democrats and Republicans in both houses continues to make a permanent decision hard to come by.
“That may be where we’re headed because, you know, Congress is pretty dysfunctional,” said Graham. Graham is one of a small amount of senators addressing the possibility of a temporary fix.
Most lawmakers have been critical of implementing a DACA stopgap, however.
“To be back here a year from now, doing this again … that would be like Plan Z,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, adding, “everybody, across the board, is prepared to do something, you know, that gets permanency to elements of this issue.”
“I’m a little concerned that if it’s a very short-term fix that [Dreamers are] still living in fear of what’s gonna happen, rather than knowing that they can live in this country and work towards becoming a citizen, assuming they have a good record,” said Sen. Susan Collins.
President Trump continues to stoke partisanship around the debate with claims that Congressional Democrats are to blame for the failure of immigration reform. “I think they want to use it for political purposes, for elections. I really am not happy with the it’s going, from the standpoint of the Democrats,” the president said during a tour of a Customs and Border Protection training facility.
Legal protections for Dreamers are set to end on March 5, though Trump has hinted at an extension to that deadline and a federal court ordered the acceptance of DACA renewals.
Even the temporary fix could have issues getting enough votes, though, as Democrats might object to the idea of agreeing to permanent funding for border security that could go toward the border wall with only a temporary extension included for Dreamers. There’s also the strong possibility that any DACA deal could face resistance in the House by conservatives who view the skeleton of the White House’s immigration proposal as too generous to undocumented immigrants.
As lawmakers continue to bicker and banter, those protected under DACA are left feeling the now-familiar haze of uncertainty. Even though Dreamers can apply for renewal per a federal court ruling, it could take months for applications to be processed. That could leave many of them susceptible to deportation after the March 5 deadline as they wait for approval of their renewals. Even beyond that, though, the trust placed in the legislature by Dreamers after the resolution to the shutdown in January could take a considerable blow if the one-year fix is ratified.
The majority of lawmakers say they want to get a DACA deal made, including President Trump, but it appears like we’re heading toward yet another heated, late-night C-SPAN viewing party in the coming days.