After President Trump’s racist comments about immigrants last week, and his rejection of a bipartisan deal to protect Dreamers, the looming government shutdown seems more likely than ever before. If Congress does not pass a spending bill by Friday, the government will shut down. If the spending bill does not include a fix for Dreamers, who have been in a legal limbo since September 5, 2017, then the bill is simply funding to deport more young immigrants. Even though bipartisan groups in the House and the Senate have joined together to suggest a DACA fix, Trump has refused to accept any of the proposals, further endangering the government and Dreamers. In fact, Trump tweeted over the weekend, “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. As this debate rages on, it’s important to remember that the crisis Dreamers find themselves in was created by the Trump administration. Trump likes to say that he wants to save Dreamers—but his actions point to a different reality. Trump’s allies are in charge of Congress; if they wanted to pass a permanent solution for Dreamers, they could do it. But Trump’s racist comments and insistence on blaming congressional Democrats are not helping negotiations move forward. His rejection of a bipartisan plan—one that met all of the criteria that he had laid out just two days earlier—shows his refusal to accept any proposals that allow immigrants of color to continue to live and thrive in our country.
As Trump tries desperately to shift blame for the fast-approaching government shutdown, let’s also remember that he’s been a big proponent of a government shutdown for years. In May, Trump tweeted that the U.S. needs a “good shutdown”, and he reportedly told advisers that a shutdown would be good for him politically. In Trump’s eyes, a shutdown is a chance for him to re-energize and appease his base; but, a shutdown is anything but good for the majority of Americans. In 2013, when the government actually did shutdown, people who were receiving experimental, potentially life-saving treatments from the National Institutes of Health were turned away. There was mass outrage over the closing of national parks and monuments, especially veterans’ memorials. And, the shutdown cost the government billions of dollars and hurt the economy. It’s time for Trump to stop playing political games and move forward with a bipartisan solution that will save Dreamers—and funding for the government.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Hands Off Our Medicaid. Last week, the Trump administration ended Medicaid as we know it, allowing states to enact work requirements as part of their Medicaid programs. This decision has put 6.3 million Americans’—the vast majority of whom are caregivers, students, or retirees—health insurance at risk. It’s the latest in his attacks on critical benefits programs—so take action today! Add your name to our petition urging the Trump administration to reverse their decision and keep their #HandsOff our Medicaid.
False Alarm. Over the weekend, Hawaiian residents were shocked when reading an alert sent to their phones: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” The next 38 minutes were one of sheer panic, as many people thought they only had minutes to live. Thankfully, no missile was headed to Hawaii; it turns out the emergency employee pressed the wrong button. But, especially in a time of high tensions over nuclear warfare, it left many traumatized. Per reports, President Trump was told about the incident before residents were told it was a mistake; rather than taking action, such as tweeting, he continued to play golf. Today, people in Japan faced a similar false alert, although it was corrected only 5 minutes after it was mistakenly released. The mistakes point to a world increasingly on edge, fearing the use of nuclear weapons.
Losing Coverage. Since Trump took office a year ago, the number of U.S. adults without health insurance has risen. When President Obama left office, the uninsured rate was 10.9 percent. At the end of 2017, the uninsured rate had jumped to 12.2 percent. Although the increase may seem small, it represents the largest increase since 2008. As with many other policy failures, people of color were disproportionately impacted by these losses, just as they had been disproportionately helped by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Trump has made clear he plans to continue sabotaging the ACA—check out the list of actions he’s taken thus far here.
#DefendDreamers. Over the weekend, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) posted new guidance in response to a court order that allows DACA recipients to apply for renewals. Although this is temporary good news, it underlines the importance of a permanent fix for Dreamers. Tune in to the latest Off-Kilter podcast to hear from Claudia Flores, our immigration campaign manager and a Dreamer herself, about the necessity of a #DreamActNow. You’ll also hear from Reyma McCoy McDeid, an autistic candidate for office in Iowa, as Off-Kilter continues its conversations about mental health.
UNDER THE RADAR
Endangering Peace. On Sunday, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas criticized Trump’s policy actions on Israel and Palestine as “the slap of the century,” vowing to “get back” at the U.S. More than two decades ago, the Oslo Accords were created, which set forth a plan for achieving peace between Israel and Palestine. Now, Abbas claims those accords are defunct, due to Trump’s actions and the actions of Israel. Abbas is not the first to harshly criticize Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, as even U.S. allies joined other countries to overwhelming condemn the decision at the United Nations. The Trump administration is now planning to slash funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), meaning that thousands of Palestinians could lose “access to health care, education, and a range of other necessities.”