Bipartisan Senate group crafts ‘Dreamer’ immigration plan

Published 12/01/2018 in Politics

Bipartisan Senate group crafts ‘Dreamer’ immigration plan
An international passenger (L) arrives at Dulles International Airport as a man (R) waits for loved ones to arrive in Dulles, Virginia, U.S. September 24, 2017. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Thursday reached a tentative agreement on legislation to protect young “Dreamer” immigrants from deportation, along with other immigration policy changes, and is attempting to build support for the deal in Congress.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Thursday reached a tentative agreement on legislation to protect young “Dreamer” immigrants from deportation, along with other immigration policy changes, and is attempting to build support for the deal in Congress.

The senators, three Democrats and three Republicans, “have reached an agreement in principle that addresses border security, the diversity visa lottery, chain migration/family reunification and the Dream Act,” they wrote in a statement. “We are now working to build support for that deal in Congress.”

Details of the plan were not immediately available and the proposal promptly met some resistance.

The six senators are Democrats Dick Durbin, Michael Bennet and Robert Menendez and Republicans Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake and Cory Gardner.

The proposal was presented to the White House for President Donald Trump’s consideration before seeking passage in the Senate and House of Representatives.

A senior Republican congressional aide, who did not want to be named, noted that the White House was briefed on the senators’ proposal and said, “It’s clear it’s a non-starter.”

At that meeting, Trump questioned why the United States would want to have immigrants from Haiti and African nations, referring to some as “shithole countries,” according to two sources familiar with the comments.

Bipartisan Senate immigration plan draws quick opposition

A related initiative, according to congressional aides, would shore up the Temporary Protection Status program that has been under attack by the Trump administration.

Trump has decided, for example, to end the TPS status granted to about 200,000 people from El Salvador following a devastating earthquake in the Central American country. TPS grants legal status to immigrants, allowing them to work.

A border security provision is likely to include more money for a mix of additional physical barriers and technology along the U.S. border with Mexico but probably not a border wall on the scale that Trump campaigned on in 2016.

For years, Congress has weighed clamping down on what conservatives call “chain migration,” which opens the door for immediate relatives of legal immigrants to come the United States – often following a protracted wait time. It was not clear whether the senators’ deal would somehow target parents or siblings seeking entry.

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