The Senate and House voted Monday to advance a temporary spending plan to reopen the government, despite the ongoing stalemate over protecting young immigrants from deportation.
There were conflicting emotions for Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy coalition (MIRA), the state's largest coalition of immigration organizations.
Millona says the Democrats compromise is “extremely disappointing. She was closely watching as Senate Democrats joined Republicans to pass a short term spending package that would keep the government open until Feb. 8.
Millona says, for Democrats, it’s a gamble.
“All along we have seen this and it’s been over 100 days that we’ve seen failures to protect dreamers.”
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats didn’t cave, they compromised with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell pledging an immigration debate with a level playing field and a fair amendment process.
But Millona says immigration advocates have reason to be concerned.
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“We remain skeptical because we’ve heard promises all along. The president said, 'we will have a bill, we’ll get this done,' and we are not seeing that happening."
Boston University Professor Thomas Whalen says Democrats did blink but adds they do have the moral high ground on their side which could provide payback come November.
“If Mitch McConnell does not follow through with what was apparently a firm pledge on the immigration issue, the Democrats can say, 'we did all we could, you can’t trust the Republicans, vote Democrats in the fall.'”
Whalen says the X-factor in all this is President Trump who, Whalen says, has been all over the map on this debate and could drop a bomb on the deal at any time.
Millona says she doesn’t even think this has anything to do with Democrats versus Republicans.
She says, “it’s about right versus wrong.”