After voting to end the recent government shutdown, lawmakers are doing what they can to avoid another in the near future. The government has another potential shutdown looming because they are only funded through February 8th with no failsafe currently in place.
One of the biggest questions everyone is asking is how to fund the government while also balancing the needs of immigrants at the same time. According to Senator Chris Coons, member of the bipartisan Senate working group searching for an agreement on DACA and immigration, “We’re going to have an interesting week ahead.”
What Is DACA?
DACA is the immigration policy that permitted those who had entered the United States as a minor, and are still here illegally, to have a guaranteed period of two years of deferred deportation. Those protected under DACA also became eligible for a work permit. However, the policy stopped accepting new applicants back in September, causing some backlash.
Currently, almost 700,000 people have signed up for DACA and were eligible to apply for legal status. However, the administration has expanded the group of those who qualify for citizenship to 1.8 million, including those who are DACA eligible.
How is the Government Shutdown Affecting DACA?
One of the reasons that the government shutdown was due to the fact that policymakers could not find a compromise concerning immigration and federal funding. A deal was reached on Monday, January 22nd. Congress would vote for a few weeks of funding as long as a vote on DACA was brought to the floor.
Why Are Immigrants Rights Groups Upset?
While certain people may view this as a win, immigrants rights groups do not feel the same. Instead of settling for promises from Republican leadership, they want to secure a concrete deal.
According to the executive director of United We Dream, Cristina Jimenez, the plan that has been established so far “does not guarantee a vote and does not guarantee an outcome that’s going to save lives.”
So, What Happens Now?
When the next funding deadline does come around this February 8th, we may see another shutdown. The outcome of the DACA vote is still up in the air.
More importantly, the February 8th deadline marks the last time anyone will have to fight for the DACA program before it ends in March. Once that time comes, over hundreds of thousands of people that DACA protected will both lose their legal status and face deportation.
The question that remains is whether or not the activists can convince politicians to shut down the government again. When asked if they believe they are any more likely to get a deal within the next coming weeks, Jimenez responds with “We will not take no for an answer.”
I’m an Immigrant. How Can I Protect Myself?
For those who need help with any issues relating to immigration, our firm will work around the clock to make sure your rights are protected. The Law Offices of James C. DeZao has years of experience in immigration law and can help you with obtaining visas, becoming a citizen, and defense against deportation.