Immigration

The Trump Shutdown: What Was at Stake for Dreamers, TPS Holders and Our Country


UndocuBlack Network LogoThis resource was created in partnership with the UndocuBlack Network (UBN). UBN is a multigenerational network of currently and formerly undocumented Black people that fosters community, facilitates access resources and contributes to transforming the realities of our people, so we are thriving and living our fullest lives.


Republicans shut down the government in order to defend Trump’s racist demands on immigration. It is that same racism that led to the termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for nearly 300,000 immigrants and is placing 800,000 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients at risk of deportation. This was a moment of truth for our country. Congress is a co-equal branch of government and has the responsibility to check the executive when it overreaches, when it abuses its power, and when it advances white supremacy.

Republicans have been complicit in every one of Trump’s abuses, and by voting to reopen the government without protections for Dreamers they enabled the worst instincts of Trump and hardline members of their caucus. On January 22, most Senate Democrats joined Trump and the Republicans and voted to deport Dreamers at a rate of 122 per day; this three-week funding extension doesn’t provide relief for Dreamers, but does fund their deportation.

What's at Stake For Dreamers and Their Families

Let’s not forget, we were in this mess for one reason: Donald Trump unnecessarily eliminated the DACA program in September 2017. As a result, more than 16,000 DACA recipients have already lost their protections, with an additional 122 DACA recipients losing them every single day. The lives of 800,000 DACA recipients and their families are on the line. A majority of Americans—including nearly 75% of Trump voters—support providing relief for Dreamers.

What's at Stake for the Bipartisan DACA Negotiations

After four months of negotiations, in January 2018 a bipartisan group of senators—led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)—presented a deal that would have both provided relief for Dreamers and met White House demands for additional border security. It also provided protections for thousands of TPS holders put at risk by this administration. The DACA deal was presented the day after Trump told senators that he would sign any DACA deal that was presented to him.

How did Trump respond? Despite meeting the White House’s requirements, Trump rejected the deal because it didn’t do enough to prevent immigrants from “shithole” countries from coming to the U.S. He was referring to Haiti, African countries, and El Salvador—i.e., countries with people of color. Trump made sure to clarify that he prefers to have immigrants come from countries like Norway.

What's at Stake for Our Country

Let’s face it: the man who sits in the Oval Office and controls our government is a racist white supremacist. We as a nation cannot stand idly by while the White House destroys our communities and tramples on our values as it advances its white supremacist agenda. Here are some of the most glaring examples of the racist statements, policies, actions taken by Donald Trump over the years and since taking office:

The Trump Shutdown Was About Racism and White Supremacy

The truth is that the Trump administration is systematically trying to change the makeup of our country in order to preserve whiteness and eliminate people of color. He made that clear when he rejected the bipartisan Dreamer deal because it did not prevent immigrants from “shithole” countries from coming to the U.S.

Donald Trump is still the main impediment to reaching a bipartisan deal. Republican and Democratic senators had been negotiating in good faith for months, and had reached a deal on DACA that both parties could have accepted. Trump, by tanking this deal, gave Democrats an opportunity to demand a fix that would protect DACA recipients from deportation—but instead, they voted with him and the Republicans to fund a government that will continue to deport Dreamers. It’s important now more than ever for Congress to assert itself as a co-equal branch of government and pass a bill that provides relief from deportation for Dreamers.