Tonight, both the House and Senate passed a “continuing resolution” (CR) to keep the government open for another four weeks. The House passed the CR 231-188, with 16 Republicans and 14 Democrats voting to deport Dreamers. Just two hours later, the Senate passed their CR 66-32.
The bill keeps the government running through January 19 and includes vital funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) through March 31. But deportation relief for Dreamers wasn’t included in the bill.
Unlike most of our fights this year, the Senate needed to hit a 60-vote threshold (requiring at least 9 Democrats!). That means Democrats had real leverage in this fight. For the last three months, Indivisibles across the country from California to South Carolina to New York and everywhere in between have called on Democrats to use their leverage to advocate for Dreamers and demand relief for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
DACA is an Obama-era executive action that provides work permits and defers deportations of young undocumented immigrants who went through a costly, extensive application process. And 800,000 Dreamers who’d received DACA had their lives upended when Trump announced he was ending the program in September.
In October, we launched a campaign with United We Dream and National Immigration Law Center to ask Democratic members of Congress (MoCs) to use their leverage in this fight to advocate for Dreamers. Just a few Senators -- Kamala Harris (CA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Cory Booker (NJ), Bernie Sanders (VT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) -- and leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House signed on at first.
After months of organizing and intense advocacy from United We Dream and the Dream 7, immigrant rights advocates, and this movement, 172 Democrats in the House and 30 in the Senate voted to stand with Dreamers (including 8 Senators who announced their commitment to Dreamers today, just one day after immigrant youth occupied Capitol Hill).
We didn’t win. But this fight isn’t over. When Congress comes back next year, they have until January 19 to put forward yet another spending package. The momentum is on our side and we can peel more Democrats off to demand meaningful deportation relief for Dreamers, if we keep working. Here’s what we need to do:
- Visit DreamerPledge.org and see if your MoCs were Dream Heroes or Dream Killers today.
- Then get out your phone and dial 1-855-980-2355. Enter your zip code when prompted and you’ll be connected to one of your Senators. If your MoCs were Dream Heroes, call them and thank them for their vote (use our “thanks” script). If your MoCs were Dream Killers, call them and tell them you’ll hold them accountable for their votes (use our “spank” script).
- Call again to get your other Senator!
A lot of Congressional offices will close tomorrow night for the rest of the year. So after you've made your calls, your final to-do this year is… rest! When Congress gets back to work in January, we’ll need to push to get more Democrats on board to make public commitments to protect Dreamers.
Even though we lost fights today and earlier this week, you’ve accomplished so much in just a year. You’ve defeated Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act twice. You’ve won vital elections in half a dozen states. And you’ve built a nationwide, progressive movement that demands to be reckoned with from Republicans and Democrats alike.
And, in 2018, we’ll win protections for Dreamers; fight cuts for Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and food stamps; and take back the House and Senate.
So make a call and rest up friends. We’ll see you in 2018.
The Indivisible Team