Remember three weeks ago when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that lawmakers wouldn’t adjourn for the holidays without a DACA fix? Turns out, Congress will likely break without passing a legislative DACA fix before the year’s end—mostly because a few Democratic Senators who are up for re-election in red states can’t afford to have a government shutdown blamed on them.
Senator Claire McCaksill of Missouri, where Donald Trump won by 18 points, is one of those lawmakers whose reelection campaign might be tarnished by a government shutdown. Her excuse for refusing to force a vote on DACA is as craven as you might expect: “We’ve got to get it done, but I’m not drawing a line in the sand that it has to be this week versus two weeks from now.”
So, Democrats will likely pass a temporary funding bill by the end of the week (to avoid a government shutdown on Saturday) and continue kicking DACA down the road—despite its impending March 15 official expiration date and despite their repeated promises to pass legislation before the holiday recess.
Literally, Pelosi promised an undocumented activist that Congress would pass a DACA solution before the year’s end:
“I had [House Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi tell me to my face that she would get this done by the end of the year,” said Adrian Reyna, 26, an immigrant who arrived from Mexico at age 11 and whose work permit expires in May. Reyna is the membership director of United We Dream, the youth-led immigrant organization organizing protests.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer similarly assured Reyna that a legislative fix for DACA would be resolved by the end of the year— he apparently “looked into the eyes of our members and said he’s committed to getting this done.”
On Monday, Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas all but confirmed that DACA would not be included as a part of the budget. “This is something we’re going to turn to, I’m sure, in January,” he told reporters.
Promising to “get it done” is beginning to sound like a hollow pledge—and as Democratic Senators weigh their re-election potential, nearly 700,000 DACA recipients wait in limbo for an overpromised solution that continues to be punted—perhaps until it’s too late.