DACA: Is The Dream Over?

In a move that is consistent with many other decisions made during his presidency, Donald Trump is pointing the finger at Democrats (and the former Obama administration) for the problems with DACA when, in fact, it’s Trump himself that is pushing to end the program.

A recent tweet from Trump lashed out at Democrats as “… doing nothing for DACA – just interested in politics. DACA activists and Hispanics will go hard against Dems, will start “falling in love” with Republicans and their President! We are about RESULTS,” he said.

DACA was an executive order that former President Obama passed in 2012. It offered applications for protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants under the age of 16 who came to the U.S. Once these immigrants passed a background check, they could get two-year, renewable permits to work and study in the U.S. Current permits will begin to expire on March 5, 2018.

Conservatives argue that DACA “rewards” illegal immigration and Trump has long been in support of that position. During his campaign, Trump promised that he would immediately rescind the program if he were elected president.

Democrats, have, on numerous occasions asked Congress to vote on a bill – the Dream Act – that would legalize DACA and allow its participants to become U.S. citizens. Many Democrats see the president’s objection to DACA as nothing more than his pawn for obtaining funding for his “wall.” But Republicans and the president want any bill designed to make DACA permanent to tie into measures that block illegal immigration and protect border security.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has voiced that House Democrats strongly oppose House Republicans’ plans to pass a short-term spending bill meant to avert a government shutdown on Friday, January 19, unless it includes protection for undocumented immigrants, saying, “The overwhelming number in our caucus have said they don’t like this deal and they believe if we kick the can down the road this time we’ll be back where we started from next time,” he added later. “There’s very, very strong support not to go along with their deal.”

Surprisingly, some House Democrats are wavering on their decisions to reject a short-term spending bill while some Republicans are stepping up to reject more short-term spending, including Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. He said recently he would not support a continuing resolution because “eventually, you’ve got to say no” to more short-term spending bills. Graham continued, noting that Republicans must understand that they won’t succeed in getting much-wanted deals and funding unless they vote to protect DACA.

Still, at the eleventh hour, the tug-of-war continues, with the future of more than 800,000 DACA immigrants unknown. This back and forth can do nothing more than make our nation’s  leaders and representatives appear disorganized, indecisive, and narcissistic. Also, it only works to make us wonder if the democratic process is all about under-the-table and back alley handshake deals; if they’re all just about scratching the backs of the people who are scratching yours, or if the system is fair and just. We’ll find out tomorrow.