Senate opens the floor for proposals on immigration reform

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 15, 2018

The legislation tracks with an immigration proposal the White House unveiled in January and while it has support from Republican leadership, its prospects with Democrats appear slim.

"We just don't know where 60 votes are for any particular proposal", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., citing the votes needed for passage.

This may prove to be too much for many Republican Senators to swallow.

"President Trump somehow thinks that Democrats will be blamed for not getting a deal on DACA because we didn't go blindly along with his partisan plan - extreme as it is, with no input from Democrats".

The White House proposal offered a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million eligible immigrants, more than the 800,000 of whom registered for DACA in the five years of the program. He wrote, "This will be our last chance, there will never be another opportunity!" About 700,000 are now protected by the DACA program.

"Everybody in this room wants DACA." he said., "It would be a great achievement".

The GOP proposal would also eliminate the Diversity Visa Lottery and reuse those visas to lower the existing immigration backlog. "That means fixing broken parts of our legal immigration system", McConnell said. "Instead, we must focus on providing certainty to Dreamers and keeping families together".

And any bill that passes the Senate then faces an uncertain future in the House. Many Republicans back a bill from Sen. The other four members of the new "Gang of Six" - except for Gardner - also worked on the Gang of Eight measure.

Both parties' leaders hope debate can be concluded this week, but it's unclear if that will happen or what the product, if any, will be. Cornyn told reporters Tuesday.

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In an interview late Wednesday, a senior administration official denounced the bipartisan bill, calling it a "giant amnesty" that did nothing to secure the border, and vowed the White House would strongly lobby against it Thursday. "That's the way the Senate always used to operate, that is a good way to legislate".

"It's not going to be as easy here in the House as it may be in the Senate", said Representative Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican.

Democrats could jumpstart those votes by allowing the Senate to skip over a waiting period included in the procedural step known as cloture lawmakers voted to invoke on Monday. "I said we'd have an open and fair process". But competing factions in a divided Congress leave many questions about the path forward. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen.

The plan, led by Sens.

On Monday, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee announced a bill that would provide a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million DREAMers, in exchange for $25 billion for a border wall and at least a 25% cut in legal immigration.

Trump's claim that a majority of American voters support his plan is supported by a recent Harvard-Harris poll, which found that majorities of voters support its composite four pillars, 65 percent to 35 percent, including 68 percent of Hispanics, 64 percent of Democrats, and 63 percent of liberals.

But as of Tuesday afternoon the Senate had not yet voted to move to the legislation.

The Minority Leader's comments come after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a scathing letter to her liberal colleagues Sunday night, urging them to "say no" to any GOP proposals throughout 2018.

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