House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi shot down a proposal to vote in favor of President Donald Trump’s border wall in exchange for a deal that would reportedly grant protections against deportation to thousands of young immigrants in the country.
Pelosi argued that funding for the border wall and legal protections for “DREAMers” (named after the failed DREAM Act, a bill that would’ve granted relief against deportation to immigrants who entered the country as minors) are two different issues and should not be lumped together.
As Democrats are set to take the majority of the House in January, Pelosi, who is gunning for the House speaker position, noted that Congress must pass appropriations bills that have already been agreed upon by key committees, along with a separation piece of legislation to ensure funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which is in charge of border security. DHS funding, she added, should address border security but not necessarily include a provision for a wall that will cost American taxpayers billions of dollars.
Permanent Measures Supposedly on the Table for Young Immigrants
A plan to grant permanent legal status, and maybe even citizenship, to more than 1.7 million undocumented immigrants was reportedly on the table in January this year. The White House, however, allegedly derailed negotiations by demanding additional concessions, including cutting down legal immigration, speeding up the deportation process, and President Trump’s border wall—the centerpiece of his anti-immigration rhetoric throughout the campaign period.
But Trump’s recent actions suggest that he too is not in the mood to bargain.
Instead, he is reportedly looking to the spring, when the Supreme Court is slated to rule on his administration’s repeated attempts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—an Obama-era program that provided temporary work permits to young undocumented immigrants. This would give the White House more leverage to dictate the terms of any immigration measures.
How DREAMers Are Reacting
Several DREAMers, on the other hand, have reminded Democrats that they should use their majority position in the House come January 3 to refuse giving any ground when it comes to immigration. Indeed, immigration rights advocates are raring for a fight, this after the White House’s hardline actions against immigrants this year, which included forcibly separating immigrant families, putting children in immigrant camps, and deploying troops to the border.
Greisa Martinez, deputy executive director at United We Dream, the country’s largest immigrant youth-led network, said that DREAMers should not be used as bargaining chips to give the White House more money.
Some Democrats, however, said this is far easier said than done, pointing to the collapse of immigration negotiations in January as proof that the Trump administration cannot be trusted to keep its word. After Trump expressed interest in signing a bipartisan proposal that included funding for the wall and a path to legalization for DREAMers, the White House abruptly backed out of talks after outcry from Trump’s hardcore conservative base.
If you, or a loved one, are a DACA beneficiary and want to discuss your legal options should the worst happen, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with the legal team of the Lyttle Law Firm. Contact our offices at (512) 215-5225 to schedule a consultation with Austin immigration attorney Daniella Lyttle.