By Shaun Boyd
DENVER (CBS4) – As the government reopens, immigration activists in Colorado and across the country are blasting Democrats for what they see as a sellout.
The shutdown was meant to force Republicans hands on protection for dreamers, but Democrats ultimately relented.
The anti-Trump group “Indivisibles” crashed the Denver office of Sen. Michael Bennet to protest while dreamers, like Marco Dorado, lost faith in Colorado’s delegation.
“By virtue of doing nothing on this issue and not standing our ground and making sure we’re doing what the American people want us to do, we’re turning our backs on individuals like myself,” said Dorado.
Bennet’s sent a statement following the end of the shutdown:
“The Senate just passed the fourth temporary budget extension of this fiscal year. This is an unacceptable and disgraceful way to run our federal government. But continuing the government shutdown would have been worse.”
Republican leader Mitch McConnell agreed to take up dreamer legislation in the next two and a half weeks in exchange for Democrats reopening the government.
But, Colorado’s Republican Sen. Cory Gardner says that was always the plan.
“The government gets shut down and three days later people realize they’ve made a mistake, it was the wrong thing to do, and they agree to basically the same thing they could have agreed to on Friday,” said Gardner. “Unfortunately, they create a lot collateral damage in between.”
Gardner and Bennet are part of a small group of senators to draft a compromise bill that gives dreamers a path to citizenship and allocates nearly $3 billion to border security.
They’re now working against the clock to build support.
“I don’t think this is going to be impossible,” said Gardner. “I think this is going to be tough, there’s no doubt about that, but we have to solve this problem. Real lives are at stake and that’s the security we need to give so many thousands and thousands of people across Colorado and the country.”
President Trump eventually signed the short-term spending bill that will fund the government through Feb. 8.
Dorado, one of some 17,000 dreamers in Colorado alone, said “I’m cautiously optimistic about the Feb. 8 deadline, but Congress has had so many opportunities, so many deadlines to meet, and nothing has happened.”
One provision in the bill both sides agreed on is a six-year re-authorization of the Childrens’ Health Insurance Program.