Thursday, January 18, 2018 — Call 478–488–8059 NOW to be patched through to your members of Congress and tell them to support a clean Dream Act.
Last week, Donald Trump made it clear that he would much rather shut down the government than pass a clean Dream Act.
Despite ongoing negotiations with bipartisan lawmakers, Trump refuses to forward the search for a compromise and resolution to his own revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Alongside racist commentary towards Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries, the President has rejected a bipartisan bill and is calling for a race-based immigration policy that would only further harm children and families in the U.S.
For the second time, the inconclusiveness of a solution for Dreamers brings about a looming government shutdown as Congress nears its deadline on passing a budget. If Congress cannot pass a clean Dream Act by January 19, the government may shut down. Much like the last shutdown in 2013, this would impact Americans all throughout the nation, especially immigrant and trans communities — and particularly trans immigrants.
A government shutdown means more than just congressional failure to pass a clean Dream Act; it means the uncertain future of 2.1 million immigrant youth and the President’s failure to value all American people. If he continues to veto proposed compromises and allows the government to shut down, we will truly see how Trump’s disdain for immigrant communities goes beyond racist comments and results in real problems for everyday Americans.
What would happen if the government shut down
A government shutdown would affect federal employees and residents across the nation, with impacts that compound upon transgender Americans. Here are just some of the effects the transgender community would endure during a government shutdown:
- Trans veterans would not receive benefits if the government shutdown lasted for more than two weeks. Pensions and other related benefits would be delayed until the reopening of the government.
- Due to the closing of the Department of State and the Social Security Administration, trans people would be unable to apply for changes to ID documents such as passports and Social Security gender markers. Any applications currently in process would be halted until a reopening.
- Because programs designed to assist Americans in need are not deemed to be essential during a shutdown, government shutdowns have been shown to disproportionately affect those living in poverty in the United States. Nearly one-third (29%) of respondents to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey were living in poverty — and nearly half (49%) of undocumented transgender respondents were living in poverty.
Prevent a government shutdown by promoting a clean Dream Act
Advocates across the country continue the fight for a clean DREAM Act, and efforts will not cease until a solution is reached.
A judge has ordered a halt to the termination of the DACA program, thus allowing people to apply for renewals of DACA status until the court reaches a decision. Though the Department of Justice is attempting to appeal this ruling, DACA recipients are still able to renew their status at this time. Today, young people are already protesting this appeal, rallying outside the offices of senators opposed to the Dream Act, insisting that their representatives choose the Dream Act over a path of racism and hate.
If you were one of the 15,000 young people with expired DACA status, you can file for renewal now.
There is so much more to be done. Lawmakers must go beyond condemning Trump’s racist commentary and pass the Dream Act by January 19 to both prevent a government shutdown and keep families united in our nation.
As the White House continues to ignore attempts from both parties to reach compromise, we call upon Republicans to distance themselves from the office and advocate for a bill that will protect our youth and families, and keep our government running.
Despite Trump’s loud xenophobia, we know that people want Dreamers to stay. Call your members of Congress now and demand that they vote for a clean Dream Act for a resolution that supports immigrant communities currently living in limbo.
Visit NCTE’s Dream Act Action Page to see how else you can push back against Trump’s racist policies and push forward the Dream Act.
Cerys Beckwith is an intern at NCTE.
Kory Masen is the Racial and Economic Justice Policy Advocate at NCTE.