Earlier in the week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made an announcement that sparked a lot of controversy, especially among Democrats and civil rights groups. Sessions announced that under the Trump administration, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would be ending, with only a six-month delay, in order to give legislators time to work on a new bill.
Rep. Luis Guiterrez is among those not on board with Trump’s plan to phase out the DACA program. On Friday, Gutierrez threatened to back a government shutdown if the House did not pass the DREAM Act.
The DREAM Act would protect thousands of young immigrants from losing their home in America. Those covered under the DACA are people who came to the U.S as small children and have never known their countries of origin, and have grown up in the United States as functioning members of society.
At a press conference Guiterrez stated:
‘We have a Democratic caucus where I know the vast majority of the members of the Democratic caucus are ready to say, If there is no pathway forward, not only for the 800,000 and for visas for all of you, but also for the rest of immigrant youth through the DREAM Act, then there is no government for anyone. We will shut it down.’
It is Guiterrez’s hope that a new immigration bill will be passed before December, as the six-month delay will run out during that month. Guiterrez noted that the ending of the DACA would come right in time for the holidays. He stated:
‘The coming Christmas has to be a Christmas of joy for all of us or none of us.’
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) also stated that the “vast majority of the progressive caucus” and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus were behind Gutierrez and his efforts.
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, alongside Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, announced on Thursday that they are aiming for a majority of House members to agree to sign a discharge petition before the end of the month. In order to force a vote on the DREAM Act, they would need to accumulate 218 signatures on the petition. A senior caucus aide stated:
‘Republican leaders have the power the bring the DREAM Act to a vote. Until they do, we will continue to force a vote using a discharge petition and any other strategy that gets us a vote on the DREAM Act.’
Leaving the event in which he threatened a government shut down, Guiterrez addressed reporters, stating:
‘They came after the Muslims, and the government continued to operate. They came after transgender [people], and the government continued to operate. Now they’re coming after the Dreamers — we’re simply saying, you’re not gonna cross this line.’
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