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Trump and GOP Slammed for Holding Dreamers 'Hostage' as Senate Fails to Pass DACA Fix

"It's clear by now that Donald Trump and most congressional Republicans don't actually want to pass a deal to protect Dreamers."

Hundreds of demonstrators were arrested on the steps of the Capitol building on Wednesday Dec. 6 while demanding that Congress pass a clean Dream Act to provide legal protections to undocumented people who came to the United States as children. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Thousands of Dreamers have already lost legal protections and thousands more will lose them each day starting March 5, but the Republican-controlled Senate on Thursday failed to advance any meaningful solution to the immigration crisis President Donald Trump created—a failure many argued further demonstrates that Trump and the GOP have no intention of shielding young immigrants from deportation.

"When Trump killed DACA he took my life and the lives of millions of immigrant youth hostage."
—Greisa Martinez Rosas, United We Dream

"It's clear by now that Donald Trump and most congressional Republicans don't actually want to pass a deal to protect Dreamers," Ilya Sheyman, political action executive director of MoveOn.org, said in a statement on Thursday. "They are more interested in holding immigrant youth who grew up here hostage, in order to try to ram through their anti-immigration campaign promises to build walls, engage in mass deportation, and rip families apart."

Despite bipartisan support for a clean DREAM Act that would protect young immigrants without ramming through any xenophobic add-ons, Trump and Republican leaders on Thursday attempted to pass a bill that would have funded the president's border wall, made deep cuts to legal immigration, and slashed family reunification programs.

The Trump-backed bill, introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), went down in flames, receiving the fewest votes of any proposal put forward on Thursday.

"Today's Senate vote makes clear that Trump's racist mass deportation plan has zero mandate for becoming law," Cristina Jimenez, executive director and co-founder of United We Dream, said in a statement.

Three other proposals also failed to receive the 60 votes necessary for passage, including a bipartisan compromise attempt that was quickly decried by rights groups as a "mass deportation bill." Another bipartisan proposal—introduced by Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.)—that would have provided a path to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants without funding Trump's border wall also failed.

Following Thursday's votes, activists vowed to continue pushing for a permanent solution to the DACA crisis Trump caused and resisting right-wing efforts to use Dreamers as bargaining chips for a broad anti-immigration agenda.

"When Trump killed DACA he took my life and the lives of millions of immigrant youth hostage," Greisa Martinez Rosas, an undocumented immigrant and advocacy director for United We Dream, said in a statement on Thursday. "Now, he and extremist Republicans in Congress are blocking real solutions and saying he will protect me only if he can deport millions of others. This is blackmail, and it is not the America we know and love. We will keep fighting until our communities are protected, knowing that the vast majority of Americans want us to stay."

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