three days — from midnight on Saturday, January 20, until the evening of Monday, January 22 — the United States government shut down. Why?
Essentially, Democratic senators and their Republican counterparts couldn't come to an agreement on DACA — the immigration policy that, since 2012, has given legal status to about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children. With the deadline to pass the bills that fund our government set for January 22, Democrats were hoping to come to a permanent solution that would keep young Dreamers in the country they call home.
Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) was one of those senators. Just 12 days earlier, MTV News had traveled to D.C. to meet the affable Virginia lawmaker in the Russell Senate Office Building, where we planned to chat with him about a range of pressing issues affecting young people right now. We knew the fate of hundreds of thousands of young immigrants was hanging in the balance, though we didn't know then that the three-day shutdown would end without a resolution on DACA.
Still, Congress has until March 5 to make protection for these immigrants a "statute." So Sen. Kaine, who supported the initial DREAM Act, and his colleagues have gone back to the negotiating table. When we sat down with him — a collection of baseball caps and religious texts lining his shelves — he was clear about the stakes. "If we don't [find a permanent solution], the consequences to these great young people are really serious," he told MTV News correspondent Gaby Wilson. These risks, he noted, include at minimum "the ability to work, the ability to get in-state tuition at universities" and, at worst, deportation.
Below, Sen. Kaine opens up about Dreamers, why President Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border is a "really bad idea," and what you can do to make a difference.