Immigration debate continues after government shutdown

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Mariah Partin, Staff Writer


Following the recent government shutdown, Congress is discussing the future of the U.S. immigration policy, an issue that has been debated over the course of several administrations.  Two of the main focuses are protecting DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients and securing the border. DACA was enacted during the Obama administration and has gained a lot of support for “dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who came as children. President Trump called for repealing DACA, creating a new plan that involves much stronger border security, but also grants citizenship to the 1.8 million undocumented immigrants along with a merit-based system. Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Chris Coons introduced a bipartisan plan that would fund various departments and help devote more resources to border security.

Senator McCain stated that to end this immigration debate, bipartisan cooperation would be necessary, and that this bill would address the most urgent priorities. Their bill would grant permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants but does not authorize the 25 billion-dollar border wall. President Trump, however, has indicated he is not interested in any DACA deal that does not involve a wall. There is no word yet on whether this bill will pass; it has support from both parties, but some congress members are concerned it does not provide enough security.

DACA is scheduled to end Mar. 5, but both parties’ members believe an ongoing federal court case that challenged the president’s decision could keep the program operating at least a few more months if congress does not make a decision. As many may remember, border security was one of President Trump’s campaign promises and one that many Americans felt was necessary. The issue now is coming up with a plan in time to avoid another government shutdown. The Washington Times reports flaws under DACA, highlighted by the fact that at the end of January, in a matter of just one week, four dreamers were arrested for four separate occasions of smuggling in illegal immigrants. One of the people arrested, Alejandro Castro, was being paid to smuggle in illegal immigrants.

Because of this incident, Castro can no longer be one of the millions of dreamers in line for full legal status and U. S. citizenship. The Washington Times poses opposing stories in this debate as Edder Martinez was granted citizenship through DACA giving him the opportunity to go to college with in-state tuition, obtain a driver’s license, and work legally. Saul Rodea Castro also received DACA status in Arizona, but was arrested for smuggling in four illegal immigrants for 8,000 dollars a person, therefore being stripped of the DACA protections. However, they represent only a few of the DACA recipients as many are going to school and working, having benefitted from receiving legal citizenship.  


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