IF NOT, WHAT IS NEXT?
by Sharon Rondeau
On December 21, appropriations for approximately 25% of government functions lapsed after Congress failed to provide $7.5 billion for the wall Trump wants along the U.S.-Mexico border. Before the shutdown commenced, Trump said he would take responsibility for it and that it could become lengthy.
The shutdown is, at this point, the longest in U.S. history.
Many House and Senate Democrats have vowed no funding for a border wall.
After meeting with a group of U.S. Senators last week, Trump on Saturday offered to Democrats an extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for refugees brought to the U.S. as a result of natural disasters or other catastrophes whose status is soon to expire. He also offered a three-year extension of protection from deportation for individuals brought to the country illegally when they were under the age of 16 and who are currently enrolled in the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program created by executive action by the Obama regime.
The status of the DACA program is expected to be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court in the spring following a federal judge’s ruling that it must continue after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in September 2017 that the program is unconstitutional and should end.
Since that time, no new applicants have been accepted, but those already accepted may apply to renew the status.
Since his presidential campaign, Trump has said that our current immigration system is “broken” and in desperate need of updating, particularly as it goes to the “catch-and-release” policy which allows illegals to live in the U.S., often for years, while awaiting an immigration hearing.
Trump’s proposal, which if agreed upon by Congress would reopen shuttered government agencies, includes the $7.5 billion he wants to build a barrier on the southern border; the addition of 2,750 new border agents to deal with the increased influx of illegals; $800 million to go to “humanitarian aid”; slightly more to provide better technology to detect drugs brought in at legal ports of entry; the ability for Central-American youths to apply for asylum without leaving their home countries; and 75 new immigration judges to ease the backlog of what Trump said is nearly 900,000 pending asylum requests.
The U.S. Senate, which has a 53-seat Republican majority, is expected to take up the proposal this coming week, whereas Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has termed the compromise “a non-starter.”