The great wall of America stands between two powerful men, who believe that their way is the right way; one is a Republican and one is a Democrat. Donald Trump built his entire 2016 presidential campaign around the idea of a huge wall that would barricade U.S. citizens from its southern neighbors. Now, he and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are using the wall and the lives of 800,000 Dreamers as bargaining chips.
The senator agreed to give Trump $25 billion to build his wall if he would agree to protect DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients, a law that would protect the children who were brought to the U.S. by their undocumented parents. Although most of these people came across the southern border, a Polish physician was just ejected after living here for 40 years.
When Schumer found that Trump reneged on the deal, he pulled back the funding for the wall. The president was furious. He tweeted:
‘Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!’
This is no small matter. Imagine the optics of between 700,000 to 800,000 young people being ripped from the only country they have ever known and returned to a place where they may not even know the language.
What exactly is DACA, and who are the Dreamers? Many use these terms interchangeably, but they are not identical. According to The Guardian:
‘DACA is a federal government program created in 2012 under Barack Obama to allow people brought to the US illegally as children the temporary right to live, study and work in America. Those applying are vetted for any criminal history or threat to national security and must be students or have completed school or military service. If they pass vetting, action to deport them is deferred for two years, with a chance to renew, and they become eligible for basics like a driving license, college enrollment or a work permit.’
Those protected by DACA are known as Dreamers:
‘By the time Trump announced his decision to rescind the program, 787,580 had been granted approval. To apply, they must have been younger than 31 on 15 June 2012, when the program began, and “undocumented”, lacking legal immigration status. They must have arrived in the US before turning 16 and lived there continuously since June 2007. Most Dreamers are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and the largest numbers live in California, Texas, Florida and New York. They range in age from 15 to 36, according to the White House.’
Schumer told reporters Tuesday, according to ABC News:
‘We’re going to have to start on a new basis, and the wall offer’s off the table,” Schumer.’
In addition to Trump, there is another problem with the DACA and not-so-great-wall issue. Even if the Senate gets enough votes to pass a bill for the wall and for DACA, it must go through the House. Although the House only needs a simple majority (over half) to pass, this side of the legislature is far more complex and difficult.
Republicans hold the majority in both the Senate and the House. That leaves Democrats with little leverage. In the event a law passes, Trump still has to sign it, and he has changed his mind about the issue numerous times.
Featured Image via Getty Image.