Senate Democrats are unlikely to insist that the impending omnibus budget deal include protections for some 800,000 so-called Dreamers who came to the U.S. as children and now face deportation.
President Trump announced last fall that he would let the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expire in March unless Congress acted to extend protections for DACA enrollees.
Congressional Democrats opposed a stopgap spending bill in January because it failed to protect Dreamers but ultimately gave in after a three-day government shutdown. This time, Democratic leaders are still blaming President Trump and GOP leaders for inaction on DACA but aren’t inclined to force another standoff.
“We have to look for another opportunity,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL). “I think we’re kind of focused on finally getting the budget of this country passed.”
Durbin added that the lack of momentum for a DACA fix can be placed squarely at the feet of President Trump and congressional Republicans.
“There’s no indication that President Trump wants to do anything and absent his support, Republicans don’t want to do anything and they’re in the majority,” Durbin said.
Court decisions have kept DACA in place to date, reducing the urgency for Congress to act. Those court rulings require the administration to continue processing renewals for people already enrolled in the program, but do not allow for new applications.
President Trump said this week he wants to sign a bill protecting DACA enrollees, but Democrats won’t compromise on the issue by agreeing to additional border security measures.
“[Democrats] are nowhere to be found,” Trump said. “It’s really terrible.”