US government shutdown ends as Trump signs funding bill

'Dreamers' accuse Congress of putting 800,000 people at risk after legislation passes without protections for DACA.

    The US government shutdown came to an end as Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement to temporarily fund the government. 

    US President Donald Trump signed the bill late on Monday and hundreds of thousands of government workers are expected to return to work on Tuesday. 

    The bill keeps the government open for 17 days, but does not provide any protections for Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA) recipients, which Democrats originally said must be part of any government spending bill. 

    The legislation does extend Chip, a health insurance programme that provides coverage to nearly nine million children, for six years. 

    The shutdown began late on Friday after Senate Republicans and Democrats failed to come to an agreement on government spending over an impasse on immigration reform. 

    The Democrats maintained that any deal would need to include an agreement on DACA. But Republicans said no deal on immigration reform could be reach while the government was shut down. 

    DACA provides protections to nearly 800,000 undocumented people, commonly called "Dreamers", who were brought to the US as children. 

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    They were placed in danger of deportation by Trump when he ended programme in September.

    The president gave Congress until March to come up with a plan to resolve the issue. 

    Trump, who has overseen a crackdown on undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers, said in a statement on Monday that he would agree to immigration reform "only if it's good for our country". 

    'Tired of empty promises' 

    Monday's bill does not include any provisions on DACA, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would allow a debate on immigration on a "level playing field at the outset". 

    While the Democrats ultimately accepted McConnell's promise, many, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris voted against the measure.

    "I don’t believe he made any commitment whatsoever," Kamala Harris said after the vote, according to US media. "I think it would be foolhardy to believe he made a commitment," she added. 

    Online, Dreamers and their supporters accused politicians of putting the futures of the hundreds of thousands people at risk. 

    "We won't be fooled," Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream, said on Twitter. "This vote means deportation. Won't stop fighting." 

    Ambar Pinto, a 24-year-old DACA recipient, said she was "tired of ... empty promises". 

    "I will remember the names that voted against my community, against me and most importantly against my brother," she said in a tweet. 

    "I am tired of your empty promises, but I am also outraged and you will see it because I will show you! We will not stop until we get a #DreamActNow." 

    Elizabeth Cuna said she was "outraged at politicians leaving our community's lives at risk". 

    "Democrats folded and lacked leadership," she added. "Republicans continue to put our [people's] lives at risk. We believe that we will win #DreamActNow." 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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