15, February 2018
A bipartisan group of US senators in Congress have unveiled a compromise plan to protect so-called “Dreamers” and boost border security, defying President Donald Trump’s demand to embrace his more hardline plan.
The potential breakthrough, reached Wednesday after hours of closed-door deliberations, would protect from deportation 1.8 million immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.
Congress is struggling to act after Trump ordered the March 5 termination of DACA, an Obama-era program that gives young immigrants temporary legal status. Congress has tried and failed to overhaul immigration policy over the past decade.
While several Republicans are co-sponsoring the new bipartisan measure, it was not clear whether there would be enough support from Democrats to pass it in the Senate. Even if the bipartisan immigration plan passes the Senate, it faces an uncertain fate in the House of Representatives, where Republicans hold a larger majority.
The bipartisan measure, which has eight Republican and eight Democratic sponsors, emerged from a centrist group nicknamed the “Common Sense Coalition.”
“Our legislation underscores the broad, bipartisan commitment to creating a path to citizenship for Dreamers, who were brought to this country illegally through no decision of their own, while strengthening border security to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants,” Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, said in a statement announcing the measure.
The bipartisan effort would only make limited changes to family reunification, and would leave the diversity lottery visa untouched, because it is too “politically toxic,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the lawmakers who crafted the bipartisan plan.
But supporting the immigration deal would put members of Trump’s own party at odds with the president, who urged senators to oppose any plans that were different from his own.
In the midst of the showdown, Democrats stressed Trump would be to blame for any failure to reach a deal.
Americans “know this president not only created the problem, but seems to be against every solution that might pass because it isn’t 100 percent of what he wants,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York state.
“If, at the end of the week, we are unable to find a bill that can pass… the responsibility will fall entirely on the president’s shoulders and those in this body who went along with him.”