As lawmakers are stuck in a stalemate regarding the immigration issue, Senate is trying to pass a short-term bill that will protect the “Dreamers.”
The March 5 deadline that President Donald Trump set that will end the Obama-era immigration program has put much pressure on the Democrats.
Republican Senator Jeff Flake and his counterpart Senator Heidi Heitkamp are close to presenting a plan that will give a three-year extension of protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients in exchange for roughly $7.6 billion in border security.
“I can promise that I’ll be back on the floor, again and again, motioning for a vote until we pass a bill providing relief for those struggling due to our inaction,” Flake said, outlining his plan.
According to The Hill, passing a years-long immigration stopgap is no one’s first choice for restoring protections from the Obama-era program, which the Trump administration announced it was ending last year. Democrats largely refused to touch the idea during the Senate’s debate, while GOP Senator Marco Rubio referred to it as “Plan Z.”
After months of closed-door negotiations failed to produce a deal, senators appear reluctant to any potential immigration bill being a temporary patch, rather than a permanent fix.
Republican Senator for South Carolina, Lindsey Graham predicted that Congress would only be able to extend DACA into 2019, which will postpone the battle past the midterm elections.
“I think we wind up punting. I think we’ll do a one-year extension of DACA and punt,” he said.
Meanwhile GOP Senators John Thune, Jerry Moran and Rob Portman presented a bill that provides legal protections for current DACA recipients, but it includes tens of billions in wall funding and also it doesn’t address the larger 1.8 million population of potential DACA recipients.
The Hill reported that with the Senate turning back this week to confirming Trump’s nominees, senators are pointing to a funding bill that needs to passed by March 23 to prevent a government shutdown as their next shot.
“Obviously we’re going to have to deal with the DACA issue probably on the [omnibus] because of what has happened,” Republican Senator Bob Corker said to reporters earlier this month, saying that the Senate would settle on extension.