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A Bad Deal for Dreamers

Leah GreenbergEzra Levin - 01/23/2018


In September, Trump and the GOP launched an attack on some of the most vulnerable Americans: Dreamers, kids who rely on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and victims of natural disasters.

Trump rescinded an Obama-era executive action to provide deportation relief to Dreamers who went through an extensive (and expensive) application process. Congress let CHIP funding expire. And the House and Senate dragged their feet in providing disaster relief to Puerto Rico.

Democrats voted not once, not twice, but four times since then in favor of short-term spending bills to keep the government open despite Republicans’ unwillingness to address these issues. Last Friday, Democrats held strong by withholding their support for another short-term funding bill until Republicans agreed to fix the messes that they created.

After two days of government shutdown, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Trump offered an ultimatum to Senate Democrats: vote against the Dreamers or we keep the government shut down. Indivisible joined 17 other national progressive and immigrant rights organizations to tell Senate Democrats: we’ve got your backs, so hold the line!

But this afternoon, Senator Schumer led the Senate Democrats to surrender. The House voted and passed their version just a few hours later. Schumer got absolutely zero protections for Dreamers in exchange for his caucus’ surrender. Instead, McConnell made a pinky-swear promise (no one’s ever broken one of those, have they?) to Democrats that if they just voted for what he wanted, then he’d try to take up the Dream Act in the next few weeks.

Why Democrats made this deal is baffling to us. Americans overwhelmingly blamed Republicansfor not being able to keep open the government that they fully control. 70% of Americans support deportation relief for Dreamers. And this weekend, nearly two million people were in the streets for the second Women’s March showing the resistance’s power, and opposition to Trump’s agenda, hasn’t dwindled.

We’re not sure where this deal will land or whether McConnell or Trump will hold up their end of the bargain (we’re not holding our breath). But until we know more, here’s what you can do to take action:

1. Make a call
Visit to read our latest analysis. Find out if your members of Congress (MoCs) are Dream Heroes or Dream Killers. Use our Dream Hero call script if to thank your Senators voted to protect Dreamers. And use our Dream Killer call script if your Senator voted to fund the government without protecting Dreamers. Make your call using our toll-free line at 1-855-980-2355. You’ll be prompted for your zip code and immediately connected to one of your Senators. Call back again and you’ll be connected to your other Senator!

2. Show up
Visit your member of Congress’ (MoCs) offices this week. They need to not only hear from you, but they need to see you too! They need to know how you feel about this “deal.” Read up on our organizing toolkitto plan an action at your Senators’ offices. Then, be sure to register your event so others in your area can join!

Let’s be clear: Mitch McConnell has no intention to live up to these promises, or any other promises he may make. His main prerogative is to score political points and embarrass his foes in the process. And, today (and on September 6, December 8, and December 22), Schumer and some Senate Democrats fell for it. That means, on February 8, we’ll be right back in same position needing to pass another spending bill without having secured relief for Dreamers.

Standing up against this deal isn’t just about pushing Democrats. It’s actually about strengthening their hand for the next round of negotiations. They’ll be in a stronger position if they’re able to walk into the next conversation and say, “We took a lot of backlash over this deal.” They need to know that you care, that you have their backs when they fight, and that you’ll push them when they fold.

Let the Senate know that you’re going to keep fighting, and you expect them to fight too. Make a call and show up. We’re going to keep standing, indivisible, until Dreamers have protection and all elected officials who side with Trump’s bigoted agenda are voted out of office.