Politics Senators say they are close to a bipartisan immigration plan

23:42  14 february  2018
23:42  14 february  2018 Source:   Tribune News Service

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As the White House pushed a 500-page immigration bill as the only option in Congress to help Dreamers, a bipartisan coalition of senators appeared close Wednesday to agreeing on an alternative proposal that may draw broader support.

The list included senators who had already struck the bipartisan immigration deal vehemently opposed by the White House: Durbin and Graham, as well as Sens . Other Republicans say other elements of the bipartisan plan are insufficient. Sen .

a group of people posing for the camera: Immigration activists demonstrate outside the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 in Washington D.C. as the Senate agreed to a deal to avoid a shutdown that does not include provisions for so-called Dreamers sought by Democrats. © Miguel Juarez Lugo/Zuma Press/ZUMAPRESS.COM/TNS Immigration activists demonstrate outside the Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 in Washington D.C. as the Senate agreed to a deal to avoid a shutdown that does not include provisions for so-called Dreamers sought by Democrats.

WASHINGTON - As the White House pushed a 500-page immigration bill as the only option in Congress to help "Dreamers," a bipartisan coalition of senators appeared close Wednesday to agreeing on an alternative proposal that may draw broader support.

Top Republicans back the administration approach from Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee. That measure protects 1.8 million Dreamers from deportation in exchange for massive long-term cuts in legal immigration of family members of immigrants. It also includes $25 billion for President Donald Trump's border wall and a ramp-up of border enforcement that would also increase the pace of deportations.

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Senators working on a bipartisan immigration plan indicated Wednesday that they are closing in on an agreement, with a deal possible this week. They are still trying to iron out the details of what border security package would be included, but Durbin said the agreement would include a pathway

A group of bipartisan senators say they are increasingly optimistic about a deal to provide a permanent fix to Dreamers. Sen . Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., one of the six senators working on a deal, said Wednesday morning that they are “ close ” to an agreement.

But even as White House aides framed any rival alternatives as unworkable bills that Trump would not sign into law, a group of senators, the Common Sense Coalition, led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, appeared on the verge of a breakthrough on a different strategy.

Their proposal would likely take a more narrow approach favored by Democrats, linking Dreamer protections and the $25 billion in border security. It would steer clear of the more complicated issues of family visas or legal migration limits that have drawn sharp opposition to the White House approach.

While many senators from both parties have come to agree that Congress should protect the Dreamers, there is no such consensus around what to do about their parents, who brought the Dreamers to the United States illegally as children. Dreamers have been protected against deportation from an Obama-era program that Trump is ending.

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WASHINGTON — As President Obama prepares to lay out his immigration plan during a speech in Las Vegas on Tuesday, a group of bipartisan senators has reached citizenship, said Republicans will be "crushed" in the 2014 elections if Congress passes anything close to the Senate plan .

The GOP's loss of Latino votes in November boosts the chances of bipartisan immigration reform, leading senators say , but conservatives raise doubts. January 28, 2013|By Michael A. Memoli, Noam N. Levey and Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau.

The White House panned the other bills ahead of possible votes as the Senate leadership push to wrap up debate this week.

"They're just not serious proposals designed to actually become law in the United States," said a White House official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity. "You would basically be wasting Americans' time and the Senate's time going down some of the roads that people are talking about."

Most proposals emerging in Congress, including the one from the White House, offer the young people a 10-year path to eventual citizenship - far beyond the protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that only provides temporary permission to live and work in the United States.

White House officials consider the pathway to citizenship to be a "dramatic concession" that is "very large and generous." Their proposal, under Grassley's bill, goes beyond the nearly 700,000 immigrants currently protected under DACA, and extends to other young immigrants who either did not initially qualify or sign up for the Obama program.

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The Senate blueprint, drafted during weeks of closed -door meetings by leading senators from each spokesman said the president was "pleased that progress is being made with bipartisan support." From the archives. California farmers welcome immigration reform plan January 28, 2013.

Eight senators — four Democrats and four Republicans — unveiled principles they say will guide a bipartisan immigration overhaul. It would let undocumented immigrants with no criminal records get probationary legal residency if they pay fines and taxes.

"We went as far as we could in that direction, but any further and the House would never take up the bill and the president wouldn't be able to sign it," a White House official said.

The White House said it dropped earlier demands such as requiring businesses to use E-Verify, a federal database that allows employers to check the immigration status of new hires.

The bill is backed by top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Congress is trying to develop a solution before Trump ends the DACA program on March 5. That could leave Dreamers exposed to deportation, but court actions have temporarily blocked the program's termination.

Senators and many lawmakers in the House reject the White House proposal as too far-reaching. It had no Democratic support as debate in the Senate on immigration entered its third day and senators scrambled to find consensus.

Instead, the bipartisan effort from Collins and the other senators would provide the border funds and Dreamer protections, but prevent Dreamers from sponsoring their parents for temporary or permanent legal status, as is now allowed for others who gain citizenship under immigration law.

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Senators Call Their Bipartisan Immigration Plan a ‘Breakthrough’. A Closer Look at Immigration Reform. The eight senators , Mr. Schumer said , “have come together on a set of bipartisan principles for comprehensive immigration reform legislation that we hope can pass the Senate in

A bipartisan group of senators outlined a far-reaching proposal Monday to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, saying that the time has come to fix “our broken immigration system.” Close .

"It's a bitter pill - to deal with $25 billion for the wall and not be able to have Dreamers claim their parents - but the choice is that or nothing," said Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.

Other bills have been offered, most offering Dreamers a decade-long path to citizenship along with border funds, with more narrow or expansive reforms to other immigration laws.

A bipartisan effort from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., reflects a House bill that sticks with Dreamer protections and border security.

One proposal from Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., tries to bridge the divide between the White House and Democrats by reallocating family visas to other categories, including for high-tech workers, entrepreneurs and those with advanced degrees. Another from Flake simply extends the DACA program for several years, with border security funds, while Congress addresses broader reforms.

Democrats, and some Republicans, have objected to using the DACA debate to enact sweeping immigration law changes that have traditionally been considered as part of comprehensive efforts to deal with the broader population of 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States.

The White House's proposal would increase deportation officers by more than 50 percent from about 5,000 currently to 8,500, and add some 6,370 Border Patrol agents to a current force of about 20,000, an increase of about a third.

Immigration judges would be increased to about 500, up from the current level of about 330. The number of government immigration lawyers would be increased as well, with an eye toward trying to get deportation cases resolved faster.

Funds going to Mexico through the Merida Initiative, designed to bolster anti-drug forces in Latin America, would be cut by half until Secretary of State Rex Tillerson can certify to Congress that Mexico has taken steps to slow illegal immigration and counter corruption.

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The Senate failed on immigration. No one knows what’s next. .
The Senate has left town without a deal on immigration. After months of failed negotiations, senators voted down four immigration proposals Thursday. The bill that had President Donald Trump’s blessing received the fewest votes.&nbsp;After months of failed negotiations, senators voted down four immigration proposals Thursday. The bill that had President Donald Trump’s blessing received the fewest votes. The only comprehensive bipartisan proposal on the table not only failed to win enough votes, but was also panned by Trump’s administration.

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