With Congress leaving Capitol Hill in just under two weeks, the fate of nearly 700,000 immigrants hangs in limbo. Democrats in the Senate now must decide if they want to add protections for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as a condition of their support for what is viewed as a “must-pass” spending bill. Their other option is to kick the issue to next year where they have more time to work on it.
However, DACA isn’t the only issue that needs to be resolved by the end the year. Reauthorizing a spying program, finding funding for disaster relief, and paying for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, has raised questions about if Democrats will try to include DACA on their list of spending priorities.
According to Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, “There's no reason it can't get done, but there's a lot that needs to be done in the next 10 days.” However, when asked if the party would reject a spending bill that did not include DACA, Maine Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, said, “I can't answer that."
Republican leaders have shunned the idea that a DACA deal could be attached to the year-end spending package. This has raised the question of whether or not Democrats would shut down the government over a program that doesn't begin to expire until March of 2018. Some have noted that the spending deadline could be the Democrats best opportunity to put pressure on Republicans who don't want a government shutdown to happen.
As the end of the year approaches, pressure continues to increase on leaders from both sides of the aisle. Congressional Hispanic Caucus members in the House have pushed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to hold firm on reaching a deal by the end of this year. Behind the scenes though, Democratic staff have expressed concern about their party’s ability to reach a compromise by the end of 2017.
Do you have more questions about DACA or immigration policy? Contact our San Jose team of immigration attorneys to request a consolation today.