Trump not expected to extend deadline for DACA, chief of staff says
With the impending threat of another government shutdown comes another impasse in the ongoing immigration debate.
Congress has until Thursday, February 8 to put together a short-term spending package. Time is running out and very little has been done to finalize a solution for recipients of DACA, the Obama-era program that granted a host of benefits to undocumented youth.
Poised to pass a fifth stop-gap funding bill (a temporary measure that doesn’t finalize federal spending but rather further pushes back the deadline), Congress needs to compromise with the White House on immigration before Thursday.
On Tuesday, February 6, White House Chief-of-Staff John Kelly told reporters that President Donald Trump is unlikely to extend the March 5 deadline he gave Congress to formulate a solution for DACA.
After a meeting on the Hill, Kelly told reporters that he doubts “very much” that the president will extend the deadline, noting that DACA was passed through an executive order and was not rooted in legislation.
“Mr. Obama established the program, and it was considered to be unconstitutional, not based on any law, so the extension, I’m not so sure the president- this president, has the authority to extend it,” Kelly remarked.
This further puts a strain on the approximately 800,000 DACA recipients who have been in limbo since DACA was first terminated by the administration in September 2017.
Since introduced in 2012, DACA provided young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children benefits including work authorization, protection from deportation and more career and education opportunities to name a few.
As for the government shutdown, the president made a muddled statement to reporters on Tuesday when probed his thoughts on another potential shutdown.
In the event that a deal isn’t made on immigration, Trump casually said that he would “love to see a shutdown,” adding that a shutdown is “worth it for our country. If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety — and unrelated but still related, they don’t want to take care of our military — then shut it down, we’ll go with another shutdown.”
In the event of a government shutdown, “non-essential” federal employees are put on furlough until the shutdown is lifted, as the Asian Journal previously reported.
Last month, Congress missed the deadline on January 19, but the shutdown only lasted three days when Democrats agreed on the stopgap spending measure that is funding the government until Thursday, February 8.
As previously reported by the Asian Journal, Trump’s conditions for supporting a solution for DREAMers include confirmation of funding for the border wall, eliminating the Diversity Visa Lottery system and scrapping family-based immigration sponsorship.
Congress still fighting for DREAMers
The previous day, the White House dismissed another bipartisan effort to provide a solution for undocumented youth just hours before it was formally introduced.
“It’s a total waste of time,” the president tweeted.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced a bill on Monday, February 5 that would provide a pathway to citizenship to undocumented youth who came to the U.S. as children.
The bill also calls for increasing resources for immigration courts to alleviate the extensive backlog and providing more research on illegal immigration.
What the bill does not address are the family-based sponsorships or the diversity visa program, two immigration programs President Donald Trump is seeking to terminate during his administration.
Additionally, it doesn’t confirm the authorization of the $30 billion funding for the controversial border wall; but, the bill does greenlight further research on further securing the border.
The legislation is a companion to another prior bipartisan immigration bill by Reps. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.). The Hurd-Aguilar bill — which includes providing a pathway to citizenship as well as ramping up border security — has garnered 50 cosponsors, including 27 Republicans.
Although the president falsely claimed that no proposed legislation calls to bolster the military, McCain-Coons plan also finalizes funding for the military, lifting caps on defense spending.
“While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” McCain said in a statement on Monday. “It’s time we end the gridlock so we can quickly move on to completing a long-term budget agreement that provides our men and women in uniform the support they deserve.” (Klarize Medenilla/AJPress)