President Donald Trump has blamed Democrats for the failure by Congress to pass a bill by his self-imposed deadline to protect young illegal immigrants - so-called ‘dreamers’ - from deportation.
“It’s March 5th and the Democrats are nowhere to be found on DACA,” the President tweeted, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme that he rescinded in September.
“Gave them 6 months, they just don’t care. Where are they? We are ready to make a deal!” he added.
While Mr Trump has targeted Democrats for the lack of a DACA deal, Democrats have asserted that the President has impeded any possible agreement.
Mr Trump essentially forced Congress to address US immigration policy, a big talking point during his presidential campaign, by trying to axe DACA. Established through an executive order issued by former President Barack Obama, the policy lets young immigrants who were brought to the US illegally as minors, the dreamers, live and work in the US without fear of deportation.
Mr Trump had given Congress until March 5 to come up with a permanent legislative fix for DACA. But the President’s plan to get rid of the programme suffered a setback last week when the Supreme Court declined to immediately review a federal judge’s order saying that the Trump administration must continue DACA.
The high court said an appeals court should hear the case first, meaning that DACA will stay in place until, or if, the Supreme Court takes it up. By not taking up the case, the Supreme Court all but nullified the March 5 expiration date.
Despite the pressure of a deadline, the Senate was unable to advance any immigration proposals. Not much progress was made on immigration legislation in the House of Representatives either.
Mr Trump submitted a framework to Congress earlier this year that laid out what he wanted to see in any immigration bill: a bolstering of border security, restrictions on family-based immigration and the end of a visa lottery. He also wanted $25bn to be allocated for the construction of his long-promised border wall and a chance of citizenship for up to 1.8m dreamers. There are currently about 700,000 DACA recipients.
The President had threatened to veto any legislation that did not meet his demands. But his warning appeared to do little to motivate Democrats, or even Republicans, to support his plan to dramatically reshape the US’s immigration system.
Only 39 senators in the 100-member Senate voted in favour of Mr Trump’s proposal. But senators also turned away two other bipartisan proposals, ultimately leaving Congress with no clear path to protect dreamers.
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