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Government shuts down over immigration conflicts

Graphic by: Sarah Massey | Production Manager

Congress recently shut down the government as a result of the immigration dispute impacting government workers nationwide. 

The shutdown spanned from Jan. 20 through Jan. 22. According to an article from the New York Times, the shutdown was in relation to conflicts about building the wall and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). 

“It’s the immigration issue, primarily. DACA and the immigration issue, generally and the wall, building the wall. President Trump is holding what we say ‘hostage’ before a bill will be signed, the bill that he wants. In order to get a full appropriations bill, our budget and avoid shutdown, action has to be done on the immigration issue. So he’s saying, ‘I’m not going to do one without the other,’” Ferris assistant professor of political science Daniel Underwood said. 

The New York Times reported that the government shutdown ended on Monday after a short-term bill was passed to fund the government through Thursday, Feb. 8. As the result of a government shutdown, many non-essential government services are closed, causing those employees to miss paychecks. 

“Generally, most of us don’t notice what a shutdown looks like because essential services carry on. People who do notice are those who miss paychecks. We have people in the military who are furloughed. They’re not going to get paid for that week. What we’ve done in the past is we pay for it after when they come back, we give them back pay. But for the time being, they have to miss a month or more of a paycheck. That’s a real issue for a lot of regular people,” Underwood said. 

Many people are upset that government employees can go without payment as a result of a shutdown. Ferris technical and professional communication sophomore and Chair of the College Republicans Kendyl Kirkland feels strongly about military personnel missing paychecks. 

“It is a shame that those who have sacrificed a normal life for our safety and freedom are the ones who take the heat when our Congress is unwilling to find a compromise,” Kirkland said. 

However, government workers don’t always miss pay during a shutdown. Ferris marketing freshman Larry Bogus served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2011 to 2016 and said he experienced a shutdown during his service but his payment was continued. 

“Honestly, it doesn’t affect us really because the Department of Defense has a budget beforehand, like the year before, they set the budget. But also, in our contract, it does say that we’re obligated to serve either way. They really don’t have to pay us but they do,” Bogus said. 

Underwood hopes Congress can come to a decision on immigration policies by Feb. 8 to avoid another shutdown. 

“It’s not so much the budget. We know how much we tax. We know how much we spend. What we don’t know, who’s going to pay for the wall? Who’s going to pay for DACA? So they’re negotiating that now. We’ll see if progress is made on those other issues, the immigration specifically, maybe they’ll come to a deal on Feb. 8. This is a long time for such a powerful country, globally, to be without a certain budget,” Underwood said.