Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Congress reopens government but disappoints immigration advocates

About 130,000 Asian Americans are in the DACA program.

"DISAPPOINTING" is not a strong enough word to describe the way Democrats appeared to have caved in to passing a short-term budget to keep the government operating.

For Dreamers and immigraiton advocates, words like "disgusted," "disheartening" and "disillusioned" are more commonly heard to describe the so-called deal between Republican and Democratic leaders.

Trump signed the short-term spending measure Monday after the House and the Senate voted to end the government shutdown that lasted only three daiys.

A deal was reached between Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell regarding assurances that the Senate will address the immigration issues that kept Democrats from signing the measure last Friday.

The House passed the continuing resolution 266-159, with 36 more yes votes than the four-week resolution they passed last week.

Earlier Monday, the Senate voted to reopen the government through February 8. All but 18 senators voted approval of the stop-gap measure that doesn't contain a solution for the 800,000 DACA recipients. The legislation does extend Chip, a health insurance programme that provides coverage to nearly 9-million children, for six years.  

For what it's worth, McConnell gave his word to take up the issue in the Senate. But a promise from McConnell wasn't good enough for some senators.

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono and California's Sen. Kamala Harris opposed the deal saying it didn't provide strong-enough guarantees that a DACA bill will be hammered out and approved. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, Illinois, voted for the proposal.
RELATED: Asian American senators reject GOP deal for budget
Harris stated that she doesn't trust Republican Senate Leader McConnel. "I refuse to put the lives of nearly 700,000 young people in the hands of someone who has repeatedly gone back on his word."

"Their refusal to resolve the DACA crisis that the Trump administration created ignores the will of the American people, 87 percent of whom are in favor of providing a pathway to citizenship for our immigrant youthi, said a statement from the immigration advocates, Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

“Disheartened is the best way to describe our reaction to Democrats’ reversal on today’s vote to extend government funding without a solution for undocumented youth. A number of Republicans have continuously promised to provide a resolution for DACA recipients within the negotiations about a government spending bill. Today (Jan. 22) a resolution for DACA recipients slipped through our fingers when Senators got cold feet. 
Any legislation to halt the Trump shutdown should have included the passage of a clean DREAM Act that would have protected over one million immigrants, including 130,000 Asian immigrants. 

"Congress needs to remember it works for the American people," continued AAAJ. "In refusing to resolve the DACA crisis, it has not only failed immigrant youth but also failed their constituents who overwhelmingly support DACA recipients. This is not just about protecting immigrants. It is also about passing humane and common-sense legislation. Republican leaders in the Senate, House, and White House are letting racists and extremists dictate their agenda." 

"We will continue to stand up to white supremacist objectives on immigration policy and press for a clean DREAM Act. Congress, it’s time to stop kicking the can down the road and pretending to be working on a solution. A bipartisan solution already exists. The American people and more than one million immigrants deserve the passage of a clean DREAM Act. Do your job.” 
"The Democrats who voted for the deal should be ashamed as they are now complicit in Trump's mass deportation machine," stated Monica Thammarath, National President of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance. 

"Undocumented youth are not and should not be used as bargaining chips in the GOP's political game. The Trump administration and the GOP need to stop gambling with people's lives and rewriting American values of diversity and inclusion," said Thammarath.

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