Since September, Trump has essentially been holding DREAMers hostage. He terminated the DACA program, putting them in danger of losing their right to live and work in the country. He is now offering to “save” them in exchange for a ransom: funding for a border wall and the slashing of some immigration programs.
DREAMers and their allies have been advocating for a “clean” DREAM Act-type legislation: a DACA replacement that does not include border wall funding.
Now, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) plan to introduce legislation that would provide a path to citizenship for DREAMers – without funding for the border wall. It would, however, provide funding for increased coordination between Border Patrol agents and local police, enhanced resources for immigration courts, and a study of potential border security measures for the future.
The bill is a partner to a piece of House legislation introduced by Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA). That legislation has 54 co-sponsors split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
Despite the bipartisan support, some analysts are calling the bill dead on arrival. That’s because the hostage taker isn’t having it.
On Monday, February 5, hours before McCain and Coons are to unveil the bill, Trump tweeted:
But analysts are also calling Trump’s proposal – which includes a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants, plus $25 billion for a border wall and the elimination of certain immigration policies – dead on arrival. Democrats oppose his demand for border wall funding, while many Republicans call the path to citizenship “amnesty.”
Congress has until February 8 to either pass a federal budget for the year that includes an immigration solution or procrastinate like they did in January when the government shut down for three days.
According to CNN, aides in both parties say the DACA deal will likely not be debated on the floor until the week of February 12. Lawmakers will certainly be debating it behind closed doors in the meantime, and CNN notes that the McCain-Coons bill could provide a baseline from which to start the debates next week.