The Three-Day Shutdown


Priscilla Song, Staff Writer

On January 20th, the government shutdown of 2018 began at midnight.

First of all, what is a government shutdown? According to, a government shutdown is when “Congress doesn’t approve a federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year and nonessential functions of the U.S. government close until lawmakers can agree on a budget.” In simpler words, a shutdown happens when the government doesn’t decide on a financial law on time.

This time, the Senate couldn’t come up with a new law about funding DACA before the old one had expired at midnight on January 19th. DACA, which stands for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, is a policy made by Barack Obama that allows illegal immigrants under the age of 16 to get protection from deportation.

The Democrats and Republicans have been fighting about this issue for a very long time. The Democratic Party has been asking Congress to vote for the Dream Act. According to, “The DREAM Act (short for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) was a bill in Congress that would have granted legal status to certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and went to school here.” The Dream Act would make DACA a legal program and give opportunities to immigrants to become U.S citizens. 

However, the Republicans and President Donald Trump think differently from the Democrats. In September 2017, it was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the DACA program made by Obama would be rescinded. Trump stated then that he would end DACA in sixth months. According to, he set a March 2018 deadline for Congress to come up with a solution for the DREAMers. On January 10th, a federal court in California stopped Trump’s administration from ending the DACA program. Most Republicans are anti-immigration. Whereas the Democrats will not agree on a funding bill if it doesn’t give protection to immigrants from getting deported, the Republicans won’t give up, even asking for a wall worth $18 billion on the US-Mexico border.

The Senate voted on January 22 to end the shutdown, 81-18, with a bill that will fund the government until February 8th. President Trump said in a written statement from a press briefing after he signed the bill, “I am pleased Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders, and insurance for vulnerable children.”

According to, in the five years since DACA was enacted, the 800,000 individuals who have received the protections have started families, pursued careers and studied in schools and universities across the United States. After the law got rescinded in September, Obama posted on Facebook, “These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.” Dreamers are the children who participate in the DACA program.

The main reason that the government shut down was due to an expired funding bill. However, Congress might be using this to address other things. “Members of Congress are now using shutting down the government as a tactic to get what they want, unrelated to spending. This time around, it was mainly about dealing with immigration issues, but the bill itself has to do with money and funding of things. Both the Democrats and Republicans are using it as leverage to try and get social and political issues that they care about addressed that are not financially based,” said AP Government teacher, Mrs. Cutrone.