Senate votes to begin immigration debate

Remigio Civitarese
Febbraio 15, 2018

The second, backed by Republican leaders, would include those provisions plus other Trump priorities, including strict limits on family-based migration and an end to a diversity visa lottery.

Any immigration proposal will need three-fifths backing to advance in the Senate, where Republicans have a slim one-seat majority.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen, because it's been so long since we tried this [reformed USA immigration]", Illinois Democratic Sen. "I said we'd have an open and fair process. We're trying to do that, and the sooner we get started the better, because we'll need to wrap this up this week".

FILE - Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, center, accompanied by Sen.

But the feeble launch of the debate showed yet again how immigration remains an intractable problem for Congress.

Meanwhile, in the House, Republican leaders on Wednesday announced they would formally begin whipping support for an immigration bill from Rep. Privately, some Republicans fumed a bill being sold as bipartisan had the fingerprints of Democratic leaders on it. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.

In a White House statement, Trump urged the Senate to back a proposal unveiled this week by a GOP group led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, saying it accomplishes his vision for immigration.

"How many bills would they like to see, bipartisan bills?" Claire McCaskill said, "By and large, I'm hopeful that we'll get there, but some of this stuff is hard to take".

Seeking to amplify his concerns about the current immigration showdown, Durbin cited the story of Chloe Kim, the Olympic snowboarder who won a gold medal Tuesday, and her father, Jong Jin Kim, who emigrated to the United States from South Korea. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. "He spoke a little English, but he carried a Korean-English dictionary with him". Kim is "the daughter of an immigrant who came here with nothing", he added.

"DREAMers" refers to immigrants who were brought to the USA illegally as children. The bill will also grandfather in anyone in line to immigrate to the country through the program, Grassley said. But judges in California and NY have issued temporary injunctions, requiring the Trump administration to restart the program. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, also proposed a modification of the bill late Monday that he painted as a potential compromise.

The Senate is set to kick-off a free-wheeling debate on immigration Monday night - and no one knows how it will turn out.

"What would make it better?"

"If we get this bill passed through the House and it ultimately gets to the president's desk, he would sign that bill", House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said Wednesday. The party's No. 2 Senate leader, Richard Durbin of IL, said some Democrats had "serious issues" with parts of the plan.

Sen. Christopher Coons, D-Del., who supports the deal, explained that several Democrats may struggle to accept that the proposal includes "a truly robust border security" plan that guarantees significant spending over the next decade.

Meadows and others said the Grassley measure isn't tough enough. The legislation's "four pillars", as Grassley put it, would provide the pathway to citizenship for childhood arrivals and increase border security funding, while also limiting legal immigration through the elimination of the diversity visa program and curtailing family migration, also referred to as chain migration. Wouldn't it be great if we could finally, after so many years, solve the DACA puzzle. This will be our last chance, there will never be another opportunity! The judge directed the Trump administration to restore the program until a good reason is found to get rid of it.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis in NY wrote that the program "simply reflected the Obama Administration's determination that DHS's limited enforcement resources generally should not be used to deport individuals who were brought to the United States as children, met educational or military-service requirements, and lacked meaningful criminal records".

The Grassley bill would go further than what Trump has outlined.

The program's protections are due to start expiring on March 5, but federal judges have blocked Trump's bid to end DACA while litigation over the matter continues. His order, though, is more symbolically important than practical.

Leon Fresco, who worked on immigration litigation in the Obama administration, said he believed Garaufis's decision "makes it much likelier that the Supreme Court will take up the California case".

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