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Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty

A California federal judge's injunction on the termination of DACA initially seemed a victory for the left, but it has complicated DACA negotiations on the Hill. Some Republicans are taking advantage of the decision to soften the March 5 deadline.

The bottom line: The injunction, won last month by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, allows DACA renewals to continue — so that's what will happen if no deal is reached by March 5. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has appealed the order, but until the Supreme Court's decision, DHS will continue to renew DACA visas.

The catch: Democratic senators, including Minority Whip Dick Durbin, say the injunction doesn't offer a permanent solution, but only creates more uncertainty over the DACA deadline.

The issue:

What about the dreamers?

  1. As of Jan. 15, DACA recipients whose visas are about to expire can apply for renewal. People who have never filed for DACA before, but could be eligible, can't apply.
  2. The renewal process takes months, and some recipients whose DACA was set to expire no later than March 5 were unable to renew their DACA protection before Oct. 5 — the deadline set by Sessions.
  3. Even if they apply now, these DACA recipients are at risk of not receiving their new cards before their current cards expire.
  4. Employers will be forced by law to terminate any DACA recipients whose visas expire. Those dreamers would then be subject to deportation just like any other undocumented immigrant.
  5. If they choose to stay in the U.S. undocumented, immigrants previously protected by DACA could have a harder time attaining legal status in the future.
The politics:

Democrats: Multiple Democratic Senate aides told Axios that they want a solution as soon as possible, and are acting as if March 5 were the final deadline.

  • “The Administration has already declared DACA unconstitutional, and is currently using every legal option to defend its repeal of the program in court. It’s just not credible for the Administration or others to try to argue it the other way now—Dreamers need permanent protection now," Durbin spokesman Ben Marter told Axios.
  • Sen. Chris Coons said on a media call that it's possible that the March 5 deadline could be pushed back through court maneuvering, but he added, "I think our best course is to act as if the March 5th deadline is the real deadline and stop playing with the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people.”

Republicans: One GOP Senate aide told Axios that the injunction was a convenient excuse for Republicans to put off a DACA deal. Other Republican aides said there was still an appetite for resolving the issue by March 5.

McConnell's promise: Whether or not March 5 really means anything, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised an open floor debate on DACA, and a vote is expected.

  • One senior GOP aide told Axios that "there is no indication that the Leader is changing his commitment to floor access to a border security and immigration package."
  • The Coons-McCain bipartisan bill will likely be a starting point for the debate. Even if the Senate is able to reach an agreement on protecting DACA, House Speaker Paul Ryan could decide not to bring it to the floor for a vote.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Treasury begins dispersing $350 billion in COVID relief funding to states and localities

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury on Monday began giving state and local governments access to $350 billion in emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan, the department announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though the money is aimed at helping state, local, territorial and tribal governments recover from the pandemic's economic fallout, the administration will generally give them wide latitude on how they can use the funds.

Game developers break silence around salaries

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Developers are sharing their salaries on Twitter under the hashtag #GameDevPaidMe to encourage pay transparency in their industry.

The big picture: The hashtag started circulating last year, but has returned periodically as developers fight for better working conditions. Salary sharing is a way to equalize the field. By removing the secrecy, as well as the stigma, around discussing pay, workers have more power to advocate for themselves when negotiating salaries and raises.

2 hours ago - World

Jerusalem crisis: Hamas fires rockets, Israel begins military campaign

Palestinian protesters and an Israeli police officer near the Damascus Gate. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Days of tension in Jerusalem escalated into an exchange of fire on Monday, as Hamas fired dozens of rockets toward Israel and the Israeli military responded with strikes of its own and said it was preparing for a military operation that could last several days.

Why it matters: This is the first time Hamas has fired rockets at Jerusalem since 2014, and it's the most serious escalation between the Israelis and Palestinians in many months. It comes during the most sensitive days on the calendar — the last days of Ramadan and the Jerusalem Day commemoration on Monday — and as political crises roil both the Israeli and Palestinian governments.