Democrats Demand Immigration Vote as US Government Shutdown Looms

CAPITOL HILL —  Funding for the U.S. government runs out Friday, and some Democratic lawmakers are threatening to vote against spending bills unless Congress addresses the plight of roughly 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children — a group whose protection from deportation was revoked by President Donald Trump.

“Congress must pass the #DREAMAct before year’s end,” tweeted Connecticut Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, underscoring his support for a bill that would grant U.S. residency to beneficiaries of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA], a program, crafted by the former Obama administration, that Trump rescinded in September.

“Time is running out to pass the #DreamAct before the end of the year,” Democratic Representative Ted Lieu of California wrote on Twitter. “GOP leadership must bring a bill to the floor for a vote immediately before Members go home for the holidays.”

The push for a DACA fix gained bipartisan momentum on Tuesday when more than 30 House Republicans signed a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan urging congressional action.

“We must pass legislation that protects DACA recipients from deportation and gives them the opportunity to apply for a more secured status in our country as soon as possible,” the letter said. “Reaching across the aisle to protect DACA recipients before the holidays is the right thing to do.”

Republican congressional leaders point out that, while ending DACA, Trump delayed potential deportations until March 5 of next year, giving Congress several more months to pass a legislative solution for young immigrants.

“There is no emergency. The president has given us until March to address it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Sunday on ABC’s This Week program. “I don’t think Democrats would be very smart to say they want to shut down the government over a non-emergency that we can address anytime between now and March.”

“Some of our Democratic friends are threatening to shut down the government this month, without an agreement on DACA,” said Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas. “That’s simply a hysterical and cynical ploy, putting their party and their agenda ahead of the nation.”

By Michael Bowman for VOA
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