Memo From Former Obama Staffer Reveals Why Democrats Might Shut Down the Government Over DACA
As another spending bill deadline looms, Democrats seem willing to shut down the government in order to save the Obama-era program Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program involved allowing "Dreamers," children of immigrants who have integrated into American society, to remain in the country, despite their questionable legal status. A memo from Jennifer Palmieri, who served as director of communications for President Barack Obama and candidate Hillary Clinton, revealed why Democrats may be willing to fall on their swords for DACA.
"The fight to protect Dreamers is not only a moral imperative, it is also a critical component of the Democratic Party’s future electoral success," Palmieri, now president of the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund, wrote in the revealing memo.
Palmieri drew a line in the sand. "Democrats should refuse to offer any votes for Republican spending bills that do not offer a fix for Dreamers and instead appropriate funds to deport them," she wrote. "Political allegiances are made in moments like these."
"If Democrats don't try to do everything in their power to defend Dreamers, that will jeopardize Democrats' electoral chances in 2018 and beyond. In short, the next few weeks will tell us a lot about the Democratic Party and its long-term electoral prospects," she concluded in the memo, originally published by The Daily Caller.
Palmieri might not have meant to insinuate that the Democratic Party's future relies on votes of illegal immigrants — or of immigrants in general — but the memo distinctly leaves that impression.
President Donald Trump's administration ended in September the DACA policy, which Obama set up in an executive order. Trump called on Congres to find a legislative fix for the "Dreamers" facing deportation, and legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives presented a bipartisan compromise on the issue. It is unclear whether the bill will pass.
In recent months, the Left's base has begun demanding loyalty to DACA at any cost. "We are laser-focused on January 19 as a do-or-die moment," Greisa Martinez, United We Dream's advocacy and policy director, told The Washington Post. A spending bill requires 60 votes in the U.S. Senate, giving Democrats leverage.
Other organizations, such as CREDO and MoveOn.org, are also pressuring Democrats to reject a compromise on DACA. When a government funding bill passed the Senate in late December, MoveOn.org publicly shamed vulnerable Senate Democrats for refusing to risk their 2018 re-election to shut down the government right before Christmas.
MoveOn.org tweeted a message to each senator who caved: "Senator Joe Donnelly, shame on you. Because of your vote for a GOP CR without the Dream Act attached, 12,000 Dreamers will spend their holidays in fear. If you live in IN, call Sen. Donnelly and tell him you are disappointed in his vote. (844) 334-5991."