This Monday, the Senate approved a bipartisan deal to end the government shutdown until February 8. Despite the bill doing absolutely nothing to protect the Dreamers from deportation, 31 of the 49 Senate Democrats - including Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin - voted for it, allowing it to be signed into law by President Trump.
From the get-go, the Democrats’ plan was to not approve a single spending bill unless protections for the Dreamers were explicitly included in it. If the Democrats were strong and persistent - if they actually refused to vote for any bill that didn’t protect the Dreamers - this strategy could have forced the GOP to cave in to their demands, as it would have extended the shutdown to a point where it would have damaged their favorability.
Instead, however, the Democratic Party defaulted on their promise and voted for a bill that gave absolutely no guarantee of protecting the Dreamers. Although McConnell said he would protect DACA recipients - words that he could flip-flop on when it comes time to vote, considering the vague words of his statement - both Trump and Paul Ryan have not yet committed to defending DACA. In the words of Representative Ro Khanna, this lack of commitment from the President and the Speaker of the House makes the deal essentially “meaningless.”
While the spending bill does indeed keep the government operational for the coming weeks, it is not worth the sacrifice of the right of hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients to stay in the country they know and love. Bipartisanship and the passage of legislation are important goals, but not when it comes to deporting up to 800,000 immigrants who are just as American as we all are.
The last thing we need is for the party of “opposition” and “resistance” to lack any grit in defending hundreds of thousands of innocent people from deportation. Even if they thought it would be a politically smart move, when people’s lives are on the line, taking the easy route is never an acceptable option.
What can be done to protect the Dreamers? It won’t help everybody, but one small way to help is to sign this petition to defend Ravi Ragbir, a Green Card holder being threatened with deportation.
In the long term, however, we have to Build our collective understanding and Build collective analysis to advocate for better collaborative solutions.