Hundreds of illegal immigrant “Dreamers” were taking to the halls of the U.S. Capitol complex Wednesday to complain they were being left behind by congressional leaders working on a year-end deal that does not grant them full citizenship rights.
The Dreamers were particularly angered that Democrats, who they were counting on to engage in a shutdown showdown over their fate, appear to have backed off and are willing to grant another month-long funding bill without a an solution in hand.
The activists, wearing red stocking hats and T-shirts, marched and lay down in hallways to try to slow business in the office buildings that ring the Capitol. They broadcast the actions live on Facebook.
“We want Dream Act,” protesters chanted, referring to a bill that would grant tentative legal status to more than 2 million illegal immigrants, and would see 1.7 million of them earn a green card signifying permanent legal presence, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
Wednesday’s protests are the latest in a series that have seen Dreamers arrested while staging sit-in protests in lawmakers’ offices.
The Dreamers had set a year-end deadline for Congress to grant them a more permanent status than the legally suspect Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty, which President Trump announced earlier this year that he was phasing out.
Mr. Trump set a six-month phaseout that will kick in March 5, but Dreamers said they wanted status well before that deadline.
They had encouraged Democrats to withhold support for a year-end spending bill, risking a government shutdown, unless a full legalization program was included.
After holding firm initially, Democratic leaders and some GOP applies have since backed off that insistence, saying the issue could be dealt with early next year.
Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican, said Wednesday that he has assurances the DACA issue will be taken up in January. He said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “has committed to bring the bipartisan DACA bill we are currently negotiating to the Senate floor” next month.
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