New Immigration Bill Not to Include Wall Funding

Senators John McCain and Christopher Coons are to introduce an immigration bill in an effort to reach a spending deal before the February 8 deadline when funding for the federal government expires, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Their proposal offers a chance for citizenship for Dreamers, that is recipients of the DACA program, and entails a comprehensive study to find out what border-security measures are needed. However, it does not meet President Donald Trump’s demands for a border wall funding. Thus, it risks criticism or opposition by conservative Republicans.

Yet, the proposal comes at a time when resolving the immigration issue is key considering Dreamer’s protections end March 5.

“It’s time we end the gridlock so we can quickly move on to completing a long-term budget agreement that provides our men and women in uniform the support they deserve. While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” McCain said in a statement.

Senator Coons said that “This narrower bill addresses the two things that every member agrees we have to address to move forward,” adding that resolving these issues will clear the path to move ahead with “the bipartisan deal on lifting the [budget] caps.”

The legislation will provide citizenship to more people than the 1.8 million President Trump’s plan proposed. It does not provide any funding for border technology or barriers that Trump demanded, but it calls for a strategy to be devised for operational control of the border by 2020. The bill would also provide about $110 million per year in the course of five years as a means to improve coordination between border-patrol agents and state and local law-enforcement officials.

It additionally proposes hiring another 55 judges a year and a number of staff attorneys in order to clear the backlog in the immigration court system.

The McCain-Coons bill is almost identical to a bipartisan bill in the House proposed by Representatives Will Hurd and Pete Aguilar.

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