DACA debate intensifies as budget deadline nears

President Barack Obama shows the Resolute Desk to young immigrants while giving them an Oval Office tour. The President met with the group of DREAMers, who talked about how they have benefited from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Feb. 4, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

As the Jan. 19 deadline for Congress to pass a budget nears, debate is heating up surrounding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“Today the Republicans and Democrats in Congress shared their priorities for a bipartisan spending agreement,” said Sen A. Mitchell “Mitch” McConnell Jr. in a press release.

DACA, a 2012 executive order signed by President Barack H. Obama, allows some children of illegal immigrants to remain in the country without risk for deportation for a renewable period of two years. President Donald J. Trump ended the program in September.

“We had a positive and productive meeting and all parties have agreed to continue discussing a path forward to quickly resolve all of the issues ahead of us,” said House Minority Leader Nancy P. Pelosi (D.-Calif.) and Sen. Charles E. “Chuck” Schumer (D.-N.Y.) in a joint statement.

On Dec. 29, Trump specified some of his terms for keeping DACA.


He went on to criticize Democrats for political partisanship in a tweet on Jan. 2, suggesting that some on the left may cross party lines.


Many Democrats have been speaking out in favor of keeping DACA.

Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D.-Calif.) said that we made a promise to protect DACA recipients, so-called “Dreamers,” from deportation and that we must honor that promise.

Likewise, Sen. Richard J. “Dick” Durbin (D.-Ill.) tweeted his support for the program.

Not all prominent politicians are on board with the potential compromise, though. Kansas Secretary of State and GOP gubernatorial candidate Kris W. Kobach said that he thinks Trump should demand more for DACA inclusion in the spending bill.


“I see the president staking out grounds for the discussion, but I think he needs to take an even stronger position,” said Kobach.

Kobach wants the president to demand nationwide mandatory E-verify, a Department of Homeland Security tool that allows employers to determine the eligibility of potential employees to work in the United States. E-verify usage is currently optional.

Highlighting another point of contention between the parties regarding government spending, McConnell said that it is important that members of Congress do not hold funding for our troops hostage in exchange for immigration concessions.

“It is important that we achieve a two-year agreement that funds our troops and provides for our national security and other critical functions of the Federal government,” he said.

McConnell also blasted Democrats for what he described as an arbitrary notion that the budget must fund an equal amount of military and non-military spending.


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