Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer on Tuesday pulled back an offer of $25 billion for President Donald Trump’s long-promised southern border wall, as lawmakers scrambled to figure out how to push a deal to protect 700,000 or more so-called Dreamer immigrants from deportation.
Schumer had made the offer last Friday in a last-ditch effort to head off a government shutdown, then came scalding criticism from his party’s liberal activist base that Democrats had given up too easily in reopening the government without more concrete promises on immigration.
“We’re going to have to start on a new basis, and the wall offer’s off the table,” Schumer, told reporters Tuesday.
Immigration Activists Outraged with Democrats Over Senate Vote to End Government Shutdown
Immigration activists were outraged with Democrats on Monday night after party leadership agreed to a short-term funding bill without protections for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.
The bill to fund the government for three weeks and end the three-day-long federal government shutdown passed in Congress passed Monday after Senate Republicans assured Democrats that those protections would be addressed soon. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pledged that it was Republicans’ “intention to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA (Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrivals program), border security and related issues, as well as disaster relief.” President Donald Trump signed the bill Monday night.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told fellow Democrats behind closed doors that their position in the minority prevented them from seeking a perfect deal, but expressed satisfaction at the progress made toward bringing significant immigration information to the Senate floor.
After Congress Ends Shutdown, Immigration Activists Turn Up the Heat On Colorado Lawmakers
Several activist groups took aim at the two lawmakers after they voted to end a three-day government shutdown that many advocates saw as their best chance to force action on immigration reform, particularly for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants sometimes called Dreamers, who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children.
“A number of Democrats and Republicans stood with Dreamers and did not back down today,” Nicole Melaku, executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said in a statement. “I am deeply disappointed and outraged that Senator Gardner and Senator Bennet were not among those legislators.”
Disappointed Advocates Rally, Vent While Dreamers Hang in the Balance
On Tuesday, a group of about 100 protesters gathered again, rallying in Upper Senate Park and then heading to lawmakers’ offices to demand the vote on immigration legislation that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has vaguely promised.
In the hours after U.S. senators struck a deal to end the government shutdown Monday, scores gathered near the U.S. Capitol to protest what they saw as the Democrats’ decision to abandon the “dreamers,” young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children or overstayed their visas.
One by one, the demonstrators called out the names of Democrats who voted with Republicans to end the shutdown, shouting, “Shame!”
Trump Signs Bill Ending Shutdown as Immigration Battle Looms
President Donald Trump signed a government spending bill Monday evening that ends a three-day partial shutdown, the White House said in a statement. But that leaves the fight over a politically charged immigration proposal unresolved for at least another three weeks. In a statement earlier in the day, the president said he was “pleased that Democrats and Republicans in Congress have now come to their senses.”
The impasse broke after Senate Democrats accepted a deal from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that will fund the government through Feb. 8. In exchange, McConnell agreed to address Democratic demands that Congress restore protection against deportation to young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as dreamers.
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy Says He Thinks an Immigration Deal Will Get Done by Feb. 8
Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy told CNBC on Monday he believes an immigration deal will happen before the next government shutdown deadline in three weeks.
The Senate passed a short-term compromise deal Monday to end the current shutdown, keeping the government funded through Feb. 8. Next, the measure will go to the House and, if approved, to President Donald Trump’s desk for a signature.
“Democrats now realize that Republicans are serious about border security. If they want a deal, they are willing to give on border security. And I think frankly Republicans are willing to address the issue of the DACA kids,” Cassidy said in an interview with “Closing Bell.”
Graham-Durbin Immigration Proposal “Completely Dishonest,” White House Says
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley criticized a bipartisan deal on immigration brought forth by the lawmakers, along with four other senators, for failing to live up to their assurances to the White House.
“Senator Graham and Senator Durbin called the president and told him they had a bipartisan bill,” Gidley said on CNN. “They’d come together with some meeting of the minds to prepare a piece of legislation that would address everything the president outlined. The president was ecstatic. Here’s the problem: Senator Graham and Senator Durbin were completely dishonest.”
Their proposal, Gidley said, “woefully” underfunded the president’s long-sought wall along the southern U.S. border with Mexico and did little to address “chain migration.” Gidley also criticized Graham for painting himself as being in lockstep with the White House on immigration, extending a contentious streak of exchanges between the South Carolina lawmaker and the president.
Video Shows Immigration Agents Searching Bus in Fort Lauderdale
Immigration activists are seeking answers after a video shows federal agents asking riders aboard a Greyhound bus in Fort Lauderdale for proof of citizenship.
The Florida Immigrant Coalition said a woman was pulled from the bus Friday. The woman’s family said she is currently being held at the Broward Transitional Center, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Pompano Beach.
“What’s really outrageous and troublesome about it is that this is a bus that’s traveling from Orlando to Miami. The majority of people traveling those distances aren’t normally prepared to furnish information proving their citizenship,” said Melissa Taveras, of the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
Trump Administration Deportations Instill Fear Among Undocumented Irish Immigrants
As the government shutdown enters its third day, the debate around immigration has intensified between President Donald Trump, Democrats and Republicans. While the current debate has largely focused on undocumented immigrants from Mexico brought to the United States as children, Irish immigrants, too, have become increasingly fearful of being deported by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“It’s really indiscriminate. ICE, in their aggressive tactics of detention, are going after the Irish as much as they’re going after any other nationality,” Ronnie Millar, director of the Irish International Immigrant Center in Boston, told NPR for a report Monday. In Boston’s Irish community, the wave of arrests by ICE agents has increased fears among those living there illegally.
One Boston bartender told the news station that the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown was making customers wary. “It makes everyday life more difficult…For a simple traffic stop they can be deported,” he said.