What an anniversary.
On Jan. 20, exactly one year after President Trump was sworn into office, the U.S. government shut down. Republicans and Democrats are so at odds they couldn’t even agree on a continuing resolution bill that would give them more time to approve a budget for the fiscal year.
The main point of contention?
A pathway to citizenship for the nearly 700,000 individuals currently residing in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, otherwise known as DACA.
The short-term spending bill presented to the Senate would have funded the government until Feb. 16 while lawmakers continued negotiations over a more long-term bill.
But it was shot down by the majority of Democrats and some Republicans on Jan. 19, as it was seen as a poor stop-gap measure and didn’t provide a way forward for DACA recipients to remain legally in this country.
On Monday, Jan. 22, however, President Trump signed a new continuing resolution bill that was passed by Congress. Now, the government will be funded until Feb. 8 while lawmakers try to pass a new bill that will provide a deal for DACA recipients.
This is contingent on a promise Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer early last week that legislation for DREAMers will be voted on before the Feb. 8 deadline.
We at The Gatepost support the DREAMers. It’s more important than ever that every citizen work to dispel and disprove the xenophobic rhetoric being spewed by major players in the Republican party, including our president.
“Democrats are far more concerned with illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border,” Trump tweeted on the day of the shutdown.
There are multiple problems with Trump’s tweet, capitalization aside.
Trump’s conflation of DREAMers with the term “illegal Immigrant” is cruel. And while he has since said he supports DREAMers gaining citizenship in this country in a 10-to-12-year process, his most racist followers have already been emboldened by his previous statements.
The thousands of millions of DREAMers had no say when they were brought to this country by their parents or guardians.
For the majority of DACA recipients, the United States is the only home they’ve ever known. They were raised to speak English and celebrate American culture.
Here at FSU, dozens of them go to class every day. Last spring, The Gatepost reported there were 31 FSU students who were under DACA.
If a pathway already existed for these students to gain citizenship, many DREAMers would most likely already be taking the necessary steps.
But the system is broken.
While federally there is division, here at FSU we applaud President Cevallos’ commitment to ensuring DREAMers feel welcomed and protected.
But we are one institution. The safety and immigration status of thousands of people is at stake.
On Jan. 25, President Trump proposed legislation that would provide citizenship to 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants, but this would be in exchange for ending family-based immigration legislation and funding “The Wall” Trump has been promising since announcing his campaign in 2015 as well as “cracking down” on illegal immigrants.
This bill lacks focus – the cornerstone should be paving a pathway to secure the citizenship of DREAMers. There shouldn’t be contingencies for ensuring their safety in the U.S.
They are human beings, not pawns in a larger political scheme.