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Senate Democrats indicate that they won't risk shutdown fight over Dreamer issue

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) (left) talks to Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) during a news conference Tuesday in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Booker was among Democrats who wouldn't commit to voting against a spending bill that didn't include protections for Dreamers. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Democrats in the Senate have indicated that they will focus on other issues, and not the status of Dreamers, when it comes to getting their initiatives passed in the next spending bill.

Who are the Dreamers?

Dreamers are children of illegal immigrants, who were brought into the country illegally as children. Former President Barack Obama implemented an administrative program, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, protecting them from deportation. This action affected around 800,000 people.

in September 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that President Donald Trump has decided to rescind the DACA program. Trump asked Congress to pass legislation to replace the program.

What are the Democrats saying?

On Thursday, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he was “not going to speculate on that,” after being asked if he would vote for a spending bill that didn't include protections for Dreamers.

“I’m one of the those people standing strong about the need to get this DACA thing done," he said, "so I’m going to continue to fight to get it into this bill.”

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said she was “going to evaluate” whether or not she would vote for such a bill.

“Obviously, DACA is very important to me," she said, "but I’m not prepared to give you a definite answer on that yet.”

Booker and Harris promised in 2017 not to support any spending bills that did not include protections for Dreamers.

Democrats also backed off from insisting that a DACA bill be part of a spending deal in December 2017. While they had pledged early on to vote against any bill that didn't include protections for Dreamers, they ultimately decided that these demands were not worth the political repercussions from allowing the government to shut down.

What else?

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has threatened to shut down the government if he doesn't get $5 billion in funding for the border wall. Seven spending bills will have to be passed before Dec. 7 to avoid a shutdown.

In March, after he threatened to veto another spending bill over funding for his border wall, Trump criticized the Democrats for not pushing harder for DACA recipients.

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One last thing…
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