DACA Recipients Speak Out Against Trump’s Shutdown Offer

“To all of the great people who are working so hard for you Country and not getting paid I say, THANK YOU – YOU ARE GREAT PATRIOTS.”

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Saturday’s “major announcement” from President Trump has been summarily considered a nonstarter by Democrats who are rejecting any attempt by the president to negotiate while 800,000 federal workers are set to miss their second paycheck since the government first shutdown in December. The president’s announcement was an attempt to compromise with his congressional opposition; he offered a three-year temporary extension for DACA (Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals) in exchange for $5.7 billion of funding for the border wall.

Over the past month, federal workers have been airing their grievances over being held hostage by border wall negotiations; many have attended rallies to protest the administration’s explicit willingness to use the shutdown as a devastating bargaining chip for what is an unrelated political matter. He went so far as to pat them on the back through twitter for working without pay. “To all of the great people who are working so hard for you Country and not getting paid I say, THANK YOU – YOU ARE GREAT PATRIOTS.” He ended the tweet by anticipating a political victory. He has falsely claimed that a majority of Americans are with him on his decision to extend the shutdown; his approval rating has actually fallen seven percent since December.

DACA Recipients Join Federal Hostages

Following Saturday’s offer, DACA recipients are the latest hostages to be added to the negotiations, with the president offering to temporarily reinstate an immigration program that he himself dismantled in his first year in office. “I don’t know if the president is completely ignorant to history or if he has gone delusional to what happened a year ago when he ended the program himself,” said Dreamer Belen Sisa in an interview with CNN. President Trump issued an executive order in 2017 ending the Obama administration’s 2012 DACA program; as of now, only existing enrollees can re-apply to extend their DACA status, though the president has promised to ultimately wind down the program. Sisa, along with countless other Dreamers angered by Saturday’s offer, implored Democrats to hold to their principles and reject this deal on behalf of DACA recipients.

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Another DACA recipient, Greisa Martinez Rosas, reminded NPR that Trump is using people as bargaining chips to enact racist policies. “[This] is part of his white nationalist agenda, that he wants to use me, the federal workers and TPS people to have an exchange conversation.” She emphasized that his DACA offer is only a temporary one, unacceptable for Dreamers who ultimately need permanent protection, but not at the expense of a border wall. “And what I think that the Democrats should pass — permanent protection for immigrating people that do not come at the cost of more enforcement, more money for the wall, more agents, more detention centers.”