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Congress Votes To End Government Shutdown

Congress votes to end government shutdown. Politico: “After five and a half hours of a government shutdown, Congress passed a sweeping budget deal early Friday morning that will keep the doors open at federal agencies and lift stiff spending caps — giving Republicans another legislative victory, although it came at a high price. The measure faced opposition from the right and left, but lawmakers were loath to force a protracted shutdown fight. And many lawmakers were eager to see higher spending on defense and domestic programs… The defeat was a bitter one for Pelosi and other top Democrats, who have sought for months to tie a resolution of the fight over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program to the budget caps negotiations. In addition to tens of billions of dollars in new funding for both the Pentagon and domestic programs, the budget package will keep federal agencies open until March 23. This will give time for the House and Senate Appropriations panels to craft a massive $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that will fund federal agencies until Sept. 30.”

All Eyes Turn To DACA

McConnell, Ryan pledge to table immigration measures. NPR: “Many Democrats support the budget deal, but were unhappy with the compromise because it doesn’t tackle immigration — specifically addressing the plight of DREAMers, including the roughly 700,000 immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally after being brought to the country as children and who are enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is set to expire on March 5.In the end though, however, Democrats declined to hold the spending bill hostage over immigration… With a budget deal wrapped, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already started the procedural hurdles to begin an open Senate debate next week on immigration. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., pledged on the House floor early this morning that he also intended to address immigration. ‘My commitment to working together on an immigration measure that we can make law is a sincere commitment. We will solve this DACA problem,’ he pledged.”

Public Defenders Protest ICE Arrests

Public defenders protest new ICE arrest at Bronx criminal court. NY Law Journal: “Attorneys with the Legal Aid Society and Bronx Defenders staged a protest outside of Bronx Criminal Court on Thursday over what they say was another client arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at the state courthouse. According to information provided by Legal Aid, 27-year-old Aboubacar Dembele, originally from the Ivory Coast, has been in the United States since the age of 3. He has no criminal record, and was at the Bronx courthouse attempting to resolve an open case of misdemeanor assault when he was arrested outside by ICE, the public defender organization said. Dembele also reportedly was attempting to apply for the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program when it was rescinded by the Trump administration last year. He currently has a green card application pending through his wife, who’s a U.S. citizen. Legal Aid Society staff attorney Casey Dalporto said the public defenders are ”just fed up” with ICE enforcement actions in state courthouses and are “refusing to ignore or let … slide” the latest arrest. ‘It sends a chilling message to the entire immigrant community in the Bronx, and for the client it obviously strips them of all of their due process rights,’ she said.”

Mattis Says DREAMERS In Military Won’t Be Deported

Mattis says ‘Dreamers’ in military will not be deported. Time: “Defense Secretary James Mattis assured military service members who had been brought to the U.S. illegally as children that they will not face deportation, even if legal protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program expire. ‘They will not be subject to any kind of deportation,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday, The Hill reports. “We would always stand by one of our people.’ Mattis said he conferred with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen this week that children who arrived in the U.S. illegally, known as “Dreamers,” and have since enlisted in the military would not face deportation. There are currently some 850 immigrants serving in the military or awaiting basic training.”

More from OurFuture.org:

Get Ready for More Voter Suppression. Jen Herrick: “While the White House may have shuttered its “Election Integrity” panel, that doesn’t mean voter suppression is going away. There are big questions about how government will use the voter data they collected, and early reports are troubling.”

Black Americans Mostly Left Behind Since MLK’s Death. Sharon Austin: “While some things have improved markedly for black Americans since 1968, today we are still fighting many of the same battles as Dr. King did in his day. Progress has been made. Just not as much as many of us would like.”

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