Political Pulse is a weekly column with the goal of giving objective, to-the-point information to readers on current political events.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was thrown into limbo last year and continued its unpredictable path this past week with no telling where it will eventually stop.
DACA, the program that affords protections for undocumented citizens who entered the United States as children, has been linked by both parties’ negotiations related to passing a bill to keep the government funded and avoid a shutdown.
With keeping the government running in mind, a bipartisan group of legislators sat down last week with President Donald Trump — whose administration terminated DACA — to try to hammer out a deal that would protect the program’s recipients, also known as Dreamers, while also increasing border-protection funding and making a “down payment” on Trump’s proposed wall on the United States-Mexico border.
When the meeting concluded, however, there were no reports on new legislation. Instead, the focus was on racist comments Trump may or may not have made. Legislators from both parties spent the week commenting on what they did or did not hear, and consequently not discussing legislation.
Ohio State alumnus and “Dreamer” Elvis Saldias said the uncertainty around DACA causes problems for recipients.
“People like myself, in Central Ohio, won’t be able to go to work and contribute to our communities,” he said. “Others won’t be able to drive to class, and many more will be affected in further detrimental ways if nothing is done about this now.
“Thankfully, the majority of Americans understand this and support a path forward for ‘Dreamers’ like myself. It’s now up to Congress to prevent dire consequences in the daily lives of Ohioans and thousands of others across the country.”
With a deadline looming to pass a funding bill, House conservatives said Tuesday the GOP does not have enough votes to pass it, which could give Democrats more leverage to get a deal done on DACA.
Jeff Flake, a Republican Sen. from Arizona, is leading a bipartisan group that introduced a bill Wednesday to permanently protect Dreamers, increase border funding and make the so-called “down payment” on Trump’s wall.
Whether any of these paths will lead to a solution is yet to be seen.
Outside of Congress, the Department of Justice on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to review a federal judge’s ruling that ordered the government to halt the end of DACA while litigation challenging its termination moves through court.
Renacci to run for Senate
Last week the Ohio Senate race was rocked by news that GOP candidate and state treasurer Josh Mandel would no longer be running, and speculation swirled as to who would replace him and challenge Mike Gibbons in the Republican primary.
Popular opinion leaned toward one of the perceived underdogs in the GOP governor primary switching races, especially when Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci said he would flip if asked to do so by the White House.
That is exactly what happened last week when Renacci announced on Twitter he would run in the primary with the hope of opposing incumbent Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in the general election.
With the filing deadline for Ohio elections coming Feb. 7 and primaries May 8, political business is sure to pick up.