With hundreds of Dreamers losing legal protections each day and thousands more set to be vulnerable to deportation in just over three weeks, Democrats and Republicans joined hands on Friday to ram through a two-year budget measure that lifted spending caps, dumped more funds into the Pentagon's overflowing coffers, and left nearly a million young immigrants in "unacceptable limbo."
"In the middle of the night, when they didn't have to look them in the face, Congress failed Dreamers."
—Ben Wikler, MoveOn.org"Congress moved on, Democrats threw Dreamers under the bus again, and Republicans chose their racist leader in the White House," Erika Andiola, an undocumented immigrant and rights activist, wrote on Friday following the dead-of-night vote. "Dreamers are already being deported, and still no DREAM Act passed. Nothing new. So tired of this."
In a statement released just ahead of Friday's vote, the National Immigrant Law Center (NILC) denounced lawmakers' refusal to attach a clean DACA fix to must-pass spending legislation as "another failure to deliver on their word" and "a choice to be complicit in the detention and deportation of Dreamers."
"Speeches, photo ops, and gestures won't cut it," NILC concluded. "We urgently need a narrowly-tailored solution that addresses the crisis Trump created, without putting families at risk or reducing people's lives to a bargaining chip. We need the bipartisan Dream Act now."
While the spending measure stalled briefly in the Senate when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) decided to complain about its deficit impact, overall the bill earned strong support from both parties. In total, 36 Democrats in the Senate and 73 in the House joined the Republican majority in voting for the so-called Bipartisan Budget Act.
"In the middle of the night, when they didn't have to look them in the face, Congress failed Dreamers," wrote MoveOn.org's Washington director Ben Wikler on Friday. "Dems just folded on holding out for a Dream commitment. Shame."
Republicans are, of course, the heart of the problem. If Dems controlled the House, I’m still confident they’d pass Dream in a heartbeat. But Dems *don’t* control the House, and you have to play the cards you’ve got. Dems just folded on holding out for a Dream commitment. Shame.
— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) February 9, 2018
As many of their Democratic colleagues caved and chose to trust a loose promise from Senate Majority Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that he will promptly bring a DACA bill to the Senate floor, a number of progressive lawmakers declared their opposition to the measure due to its failure to address what Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called "the great moral issue of our time."
However, I will be voting no. This bill does not address the great moral issue of our time – the fact that in three weeks 800,000 young Dreamers will lose their legal status and be subject to deportation.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 8, 2018
In a statement on Friday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal slammed President Donald Trump for creating the crisis for Dreamers "when he played to a small minority of his base and rescinded DACA."
"This was a difficult night," Jayapal added. "And it will be a difficult several weeks as 800,000 Dreamers once again weep and fear deportation. It is true that there were many important priorities addressed in this bill, from opioid funding to community health centers. However, all the good in the world cannot erase the betrayal of the Dreamers, young people who are as American as all of us."
Immigration has always been about who we are as a country. Without a clear agreement on Dreamers, I could not vote for the temporary budget bill.
Speaker Ryan implied tonight that he would tackle this issue immediately. It is our job to hold him and the GOP accountable to that. pic.twitter.com/AQdEF2je3Y
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) February 9, 2018