Right now, Dreamers are fighting for their lives. In September, Donald Trump eliminated the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provided relief from deportation to approximately 800,000 Dreamers. These immigrant youth were brought to the U.S. as young children and are as American as anyone else, except on paper. Nearly a thousand Dreamers lose their protections every week now that the DACA program has been eliminated, and it’s now up to Congress to deliver justice to these American kids.
Congress now has an opportunity to pass the DREAM Act, which would provide relief to these same kids, by including it into the government spending bill that Congress must pass by December 22. Known as the continuing resolution (or “CR”), the spending bill is a must-pass spending bill and both parties need to work together to get it passed.
This gives Democrats leverage in the CR negotiations. Republicans typically need a handful of Democrats to support a funding bill in order to get it through, giving Democrats a lot of leverage to extract concessions from Republicans. They need to use this leverage to get the DREAM Act passed.
What is the “Dreamer Pledge”?
The Dreamer Pledge is a public commitment from Members of Congress, from both parties, to vote for the December 22 CR only if it contains the DREAM Act — and to vote against it if doesn’t.
We are NOT calling for a shutdown. Republicans control Congress and the White House and it’s their responsibility to pass a government spending bill. This is a basic function of the party in power. We don’t want a shutdown, and neither do Democrats. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has publicly said he would benefit from a shutdown. Were we to get a shutdown it would be caused by Republican intransigence.
What we ARE asking is for Democrats to take a stand to protect Dreamers. Democrats should refuse to help Republicans pass a spending bill unless it contains the clean DREAM Act. If Republicans need Democrats to pass a bill, as they almost certainly will, Democrats shouldn’t help them unless Republicans agree to include the DREAM Act. Democrats need to tell Republicans: No DREAM Act, No CR
Why are we asking for Members of Congress to take a stand now?
The December 22 CR could be the last real opportunity for the DREAM Act this year. Back in Sept., Democrats cut a deal with Trump on a similar spending bill that left Dreamers out, but they promised that they would be able to get the DREAM Act into the December spending bill. We have reached December and it’s now time for Democrats to deliver.
More importantly, the December 22 CR is the when Democrats will have maximum leverage. This is true because of several reasons:
- Republicans need Democrats. Republicans typically struggle to get the necessary votes for spending bills and will need Democrats to get it through this time. The Freedom Caucus, the most conservative branch of the Republican caucus in the House, is already threatening to vote against the CR, giving Dems more leverage.
- The DREAM Act is massively popular. 75% of Republicans and 2/3 of Trump supporters support letting DREAMers stay, so there is massive public support for it. We just need to get it onto the floor for a vote, and the CR is the only option left this year. Its popularity will add pressure on Republicans to get it done, if Dems force the issue.
- Democrats lose leverage the closer they get to Jan. 1. The December 22 CR is the cleanest place in December to try to take a stand on DREAM. If we get a short-term CR that funds the government through Dec. 22 or 30, it will likely contain riders that will make it even harder for Democrats to oppose. That means the lose leverage.
Does this mean we’ll get a shutdown?
It’s possible. If Republicans refuse to include the DREAM Act, and if Democrats stand firm in the commitment they made to Dreamers, this could lead to a government shutdown. Important programs like Head Start go unfunded, national parks close, government employees stay home. This is would be a serious situation, and we want nothing more than to avoid it, but this is literally a matter of life and death for many immigrant youth. We need to stand Indivisible with them.
Any shutdown will be brought upon the American people by Republicans.
Republicans control the government. Trump has said he wants a shutdown. It is a basic and fundamental responsibility for the party in power to fund the government. If we get a shutdown it’ll be due to the fact that Republicans can’t keep their caucus in order. The blame will be squarely on them.