Yesterday, a bipartisan group of senators agreed to end the shutdown, with the promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that he would bring legislation on DACA to the floor. It is unclear what exactly this legislation would look like, although McConnell said it would be “neutral” and allow for an open amendment process. This could lead to amendments being offered from some of the most staunch anti-immigrant senators, such as Senator Tom Cotton, who helped write the cruel RAISE Act. Such nativist, racist policies would not only prevent common sense, bipartisan talks on immigration reform, but they would put more than just Dreamers at risk.
This agreement between moderates to end the shutdown without a permanent fix for Dreamers has drawn ire from many, including other senators, who question why McConnell should be trusted. Senator Claire McCaskill, who voted “yes” on ending the shutdown, claims that she is not relying on McConnell’s promise, but instead, the “12 moderate Republican[s] who were willing to step forward in this.” But remaining wary about these reassurances is not only understandable, but necessary. Trump has refused to negotiate in good faith, and showed that he does not actually want to help Dreamers by walking away from multiple global, bipartisan deals that could have averted this shutdown in the first place. He is more interested in appealing to the members of his base that are rabidly anti-immigrant, and these efforts to appease those individuals is being led by none other than Stephen Miller. It’s time for all members of Congress to stand up to such appalling policies and views and recommit to an America that welcomes immigrants with open arms.
We must continue to stand with Dreamers. The next deadline is now February 8th; but, in the meantime, another 2,000+ Dreamers will lose protection, in addition to the 17,000 that already have been exposed to risks of losing their jobs and deportation. If a permanent solution is not reached soon, the White House has already indicated it will start deporting Dreamers on March 5th. Read our “Action of the Day” to see how you can take action immediately.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#ProtectDreamers. Yesterday, Congress ended the #TrumpShutdown without any solution for Dreamers. This is unacceptable. The next deadline is now February 8, and, in the meantime, 122 Dreamers are losing their protection every single day. We must continue to stand with Dreamers, and demand that Congress take action. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must be held accountable for his promises to bring legislation to the floor on DACA, and this legislation must provide a permanent solution for Dreamers. Call your members of Congress today at 202-224-3121!
Literacy Tests. When you open a history book and read about the Jim Crow era, you might stumble upon literacy tests, which were used to prevent African Americans from accessing the voting booth. Now, literacy tests are back, but this time they aren’t found at your local polling place. Instead, they are being instituted by Kentucky as a requirement for Medicaid, if you do not meet the state’s new work requirements. Atul Gawande, a surgeon and researcher at Harvard, said that such rules are “expensive, punitive, and cruel.” As the Trump administration continues launching attacks on access to crucial benefit programs, we must remain ready to fight back. Add your voice opposing the Medicaid work requirements here.
A Bad Deal. Yesterday, Axios reported on a leaked draft of the Trump administration’s infrastructure plan. On the campaign trail, Trump promised a $1 trillion infrastructure plan. But the leaked document indicates that “states and localities will probably be on the hook for much of any project’s financing.” And considered alongside Trump’s proposed budget, the plan is a bad deal for pretty much everyone—except Wall Street of course. The plan and budget would slash funding for Amtrak and the Highway Trust Fund, equaling about $1.69 in cuts for every $1 in expenditures. These cuts would lead to a decrease in jobs, especially in public transportation projects. To see how much money and how many jobs your state stands to lose, check out this new Center for American Progress report.
Three Attacks in Two Days. For the third time in two days, another school has become a site of a shooting. In Marshall County, multiple people were wounded and at least one person was killed in an attack at the local high school on Tuesday morning. This comes one day after two school shootings occurred—one in Texas and one in Louisiana. This means that there have been at least 282 school shootings since 2013—a rapidly growing number that Congress refuses to address with commonsense gun reform.
UNDER THE RADAR
Unfit to Serve. Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its hearing for Michael Brennan, Trump’s judicial nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Much of the controversy around Brennan revolves around the blue slips, which are papers used for Senators to provide their opinion on judicial nominees. Brennan has said in the past that the refusal to return a blue slip indicates a senator’s blocking of a judicial nomination. Yet, Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin has not returned her blue slip, meaning that, “by Brennan’s own standard his nomination should not proceed.” And Baldwin has good reason to block Brennan’s nomination. He has argued that judges need not consider precedents with which they disagree. Moreover, he has shown similarities to many of Trump’s other bad nominees by showing a disregard for women’s and LGBTQ people’s rights.