Government shutdown on the line in debate on immigration reform
WASHINGTON - On Capitol Hill, Democrats are threatening to shutdown the federal government over immigration reform. The calls came at a massive rally on Wednesday by pro-immigration demonstrators.
President Trump says the shutdown could happen Saturday, and is blaming the Democrats.
On their own, a government shutdown and immigration reform are emotional issues. But on Wednesday, they collided in a way that could derail efforts on keeping the federal government from shutting down.
This fall, President Trump ended DACA protections for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, which has caused outrage amongst immigrants and Democrats in Congress.
Some in Congress promised the so-called "dreamers" not to worry, with new promises to replace DACA. But, that still hasn't happened.
On Wednesday, there were threats to shutdown the government over it.
"We will not rest until not only the Dreamers are put in safe, but their moms, their dads, their uncles, their brothers, and their sisters are put in a safe place," said Rep. Luiz Gutierrez (D) from Illinois.
"When our classmates and our co-workers and our neighbors who've we've grown up around and these familes believe that they could lose their jobs and their health care. This is an emergency. This is an emergency," said Senator Kamila Harris (D) from California.
After the rally ended, demonstrators marched on the U.S. Capitol building itself in what was billed as a "massive show of civil disobedience."
U.S. Capitol police led away groups of protesters who ignored orders to leave the area, including Congressman Guttierrez.
Some Democrats are demanding that the "DACA" fix be included any deal to keep the government open past Friday. However, the White House wants tighter immigration controls and increased border security funding in return.
Those who are tough on immigration reform, like Dan Stein of the Federation for American Immigration Reform says Democrats are linking issues that have nothing to do with each other.
"They're going to shut down the government for who? Illegal aliens? People who broke the law, their parents who broke the law by bringing them here? It's not only unfair it's irresponsible and people ought to be calling them out on it! Their priorities are all screwed up," said Stein.
FOX 5 reached out to U.S. Capitol police for a breakdown of how many people were arrested at the demonstrations on Wednesday, and what charges were filed. DACA supporters say their actions will ramp up as their time winds down.
There are now 92 days left until DACA protections expire permanently in March.