New Hope for Caribbean Immigrants Under DACA, TPS

Author  Gordon Williams

Thousands of Caribbean nationals,forced into immigration limbo in the United States, were given a glimmer of hope late last month as a senior lawmaker hinted at possible shifts in American policy that could benefit them. resizeimage 3Republican Senator Lindsay Graham indicated that a partial government shutdown, which began last month and continued into 2019, could be resolved with possible compromise that includes help for immigrants currently living in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs.

However, even if Graham’s compromise, which the senator said President Donald Trump called “interesting,” does not factor in the resolution of the latest shutdown, that may not be end of hope for DACA and TPS recipients. The deal could be used as a possible negotiating tool down the road as Trump, faced with a freshly minted Democrat-dominated U.S. House of Representatives, will need his political opponents’ support to pass future legislation.

DACA offers residence primarily to young undocumented immigrants – approximately 800,000 - who were brought to the U.S. as children. Under the program, the recipients are allowed to, among other privileges, work and attend school without fear of being deported.

 Under TPS, an estimated 50,000 Haitians have been allowed to live and work in the U.S. after a hurricane ravaged the Caribbean nation a few years ago.

 Trump has vowed to dismantle both DACA and TPS, but federal courts have – at least temporarily - halted his push against the programs.


However, following a meeting with Trumpon Dec. 30, Graham hintedthat the White House may be willing to protect DACA and TPS recipients if the Democrats agree to allow $5 billion for border security. Trump insisted on that amount, which would he wants to include money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Democrats, led by House Leader Nancy Pelosi, are adamant no funding should be provided for a wall. Trump, in a widely viewed televised showdown with Democratic leaders last month, vowed to shut down the government if his demand for wall funding was not met. The Democrats refused to budge and the government was partially shutdown.

Without the support for Democrat-favored programs such as DACA and TPS, Graham believes it would not be possible for the president to get $5 billion for border security and break the deadlock, which has forced the closure of many public facilities and cut off pay for thousands of federal employees.

“I don’t see Democrats giving us more money, unless they get something,” Graham told the media after he met with Trump at the White House.

The senator from South Carolina said he urged Trump to consider what he called his “breakthrough” compromise.Up to press time the president had not publicly confirmed his support for Graham’s proposal. Still, the senator remained optimistic, insisting that some Democrats may find the compromise favorable.

“The president didn’t commit,” Grahamexplained, “but I think he’s very open minded. I know there’s some Democrats out there who would be willing to provide money for a wall, border security if we could deal with the DACA population and TPS people.”


The Democrats, however, were not ready to commit to the proposed compromise either.

“At this point, it’s clear the White House doesn’t know what they want when it comes to border security,” a spokesperson for Chuck Schumer, who leads the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, told CBS News.

Schumer has said he supports border security which does not include a wall. Pelosi publicly repeated that mantra as well. The Democrats have offered to back $1.3 billion for border security.

Graham’s compromise would include Trump backing the Bridge Act, which Graham co-sponsored. Under that legislation, DACA recipients would receive work permits for three years and TPS recipients would have their legal status extended.