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  • U.S. President Trump speaks in a televised White House address regarding the government shutdown and the border wall.

    U.S. President Trump speaks in a televised White House address regarding the government shutdown and the border wall. | Photo: Reuters

Published 19 January 2019

Democrats are being pressured to fund the wall in exchange for temporary protections for immigrants.

US President Donald Trump has announced an updated plan regarding the government shutdown over border-wall funding after another claim that Mexico will pay for it.

His proposal includes temporary protections for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) in exchange for the US$5.7 billion requested to fund 243 miles of barrier on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Trump claims the border wall would reduce crime and the growing opioid epidemic in the United States. He also said it “solves an immediate crisis. A humanitarian crisis like we rarely see in our country, and it provides immediate relief.”

But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham had been pushing the BRIDGE Act for weeks, before the shutdown even began. The act would extend DACA recipients’ deportation protections and work permits for three more years.

In that time, Congress is expected to develop a permanent solution for the recipients. Democrats are less than enthusiastic about this specific part of the deal, since previous debates show many Republicans were open to bills that would offer DREAMers the option of permanent legal status, and eventually, citizenship.

Trump’s willingness to compromise on the fate of DACA sheds light on the president’s weakening stance in this shutdown. Just nine days ago, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters that the administration was “confident the Supreme Court will find DACA to have been unconstitutional” and that a “DACA-for-wall” deal was most likely off the table.

TPS differs from DACA in the sense that recipients are granted legal status, but are not offered any option to apply for a green card or citizenship. TPS is offered to people to stay in the U.S. while their country of origin recovers from war or natural disasters. Trump’s deal offers extension protections for recipients, but nothing more.

While it seems unlikely that Democrats will accept this deal, Trump used his “major announcement” to remind Democrats that “many of these security ideas have been proposed by Democrats themselves, and all of them have been supported by Democrats in the past, including a physical barrier wall.” As Democrats weigh the option to provide temporary security to the immigrants already within the United States versus the potential opportunities for future generations, the President continues to insist that any bill to reopen the government include the billions of dollars requested for the wall.

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