Shutdown: Supreme Court knocks out Trump card

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Supreme Court backs DACA and leaves Trump handicapped in negotiating with Democrats over Shutdown

President Donald Trump’s immigration proposal as a trade-off to end the 32-day partial government shutdown has suffered a blow from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The proposal was about restoring temporary protections for the “Dreamer” immigrants who were brought illegally into the United States as minors. In 2017, Trump moved to end the Dreamers’ protections, triggering a court battle.

He also offered ending the government shutdown by fully funding the one-quarter of U.S. agencies that are affected. In return, he would get $5.7 billion toward building a southwestern border wall that Democrats oppose.

Now Trump may have lost the Dreamer issue as his main negotiating point on Tuesday when the Supreme Court refused, at least during this term, to consider an administration appeal of lower court rulings allowing continued temporary protections for the immigrant youths.

Instead, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established by then-President Barack Obama in 2012 lives on with or without approval by Congress.

Before the court decision, Democrats in the Senate and the House of Representatives had rejected Trump’s plan as insufficient, saying they would not trade a temporary restoration of the immigrants’ protections in return for a permanent border wall that they view as ineffective.

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote on Trump’s plan this week but there were doubts it would pass there.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the top U.S. Democrat, had recommended Trump delay his State of the Union speech, traditionally delivered in the House chamber. She had cited concerns about security for the event with some personnel furloughed during a monthlong shutdown.

But, an administration official said the White House sent a request to move forward with speech planning and requested approval of the House sergeant-at-arms for security officials to do a walkthrough of the venue.

The request seemed likely to set up another clash between Trump and Pelosi, days after Trump abruptly refused to let her use a U.S. military plane to go on an overseas trip hours before she was to depart.

A House Democratic aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the White House had not responded to Pelosi’s letter requesting a delay in the speech.

House Democrats also had legislation that would end the partial shutdown of agencies including the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor and Interior.

While their legislation would contain new border security money, there would be nothing for a wall.

Once the government reopens, Democrats said, they would negotiate with Trump on further border security ideas.

“We were optimistic that he might open up government so we could have this discussion,” Pelosi told reporters in comments carried by CNN. “But then we heard what the particulars were in it and it was a non-starter, unfortunately.”

Many federal employees and contractors were turning to unemployment assistance, food banks and other support as the shutdown entered its second month. Others began seeking new jobs.

U.S. airport security officer absences rose to a record high over the weekend with some airports experiencing longer wait times and a least one major East Coast airport closing one security checkpoint.