A stalemate in the Senate brought the Federal government to a screeching halt late Friday. At issue: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (also known as DACA), which affects more than 200,000 people in California. The Trump administration announced a phase out of the program in September.
The shutdown lasted just three days. The Senate approved yet another stop-gap bill on Monday, but a DACA fix was not part of the deal.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled that he will bring a separate immigration bill to the floor in early February.
For DACA recipient Safir Wazed, the decision likely renews his long-held feelings of uncertainty; he will have to continue to wait for answers. Wazed was brought to the U.S. 20 years ago from Bangladesh. He was just seven years old. Today, he is a grad student at the University of Southern California.
"I think we're more confused than ever," Wazed tells Take Two. "As time has gone by, it's become more and more distressful for us."
Wazed says it feels like he and the nearly 800,000 other DACA recipients in the country have been used as bargaining chips.
"We're just trying to figure out where we fit in our society and our home," he says.
WHAT'S THE MOST CONFUSING PART FOR YOU?
The most confusing part comes from being here for a few decades, making investments in school, into a home, even stocks and cars. Doing every investment that we can in making this our home and our community and still being questioned if we belong here.
DO YOU THINK DEMOCRATS WERE RIGHT TO BRING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO A STOP OVER THIS?
I think Democrats finally acknowledged that this is a bigger issue than the Republicans are willing to admit. I think it was a great strategic move to finally get the discussion going [about] how serious this is and set the tone for that. I think that's what was lacking in the past few months and that's [why] nothing has been done for Dreamers.
IF YOU COULD ADDRESS THE SENATE AND THE PRESIDENT TODAY, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM ABOUT DACA RECIPIENTS?
I'd say we probably grew up with your kids. We probably grew up around you. We probably played for the same teams. We probably root for the same teams. We probably have the same ideals, and we're probably equally patriotic.
Taking that into consideration, we're no different than you guys. But we're being categorized that way in legal processing. And that's unfortunate because there's much more we can continue to give just like you have.