US Senate debates on Immigration bill, DACA.
Feb 13, 2018 Politics 3304 By Michelle Clarke
On Monday evening the United State Senate, started a major,free-for-all immigration debate, that could decide the fate of over 700,000 "dreamers", young people brought into the US as children year ago illegally.
Republican senator, John Cornyn, while alerting the senate to the urgent nature of the issue and the need for quick Senate action, said "It's this week or not at
all." He warned that the debate had to be "wrapped up" by Thursday, before next week's congressional recess.
Democratic senator, Dick Durbin, said he had hoped that the 49 democrats and independents together with 11 republicans showing support for the bill could get it passed but Cornyn warned that apathetic support on the part of republican would only result in failure. "If they think ... they can cobble together a handful of Republicans to go along with a majority of Democrats and somehow get it past the House and get the president to sign it, I think that's a pipe dream," he said.
President Donald Trump, last September issued a deadline of March 5, which would see "dreamers" deported after that date. This deadline had pushed the Senate into a debate session, with only the "dreamers" in contention.
With the issue of immigration, more divisive under the present administration than it ever was, it is already a difficult task for congress to be able to bridge the divide and it is unclear if any immigration bill, despite last week's bipartisan budget deal, would get at least the 60 vote required. The house of representative which is more conservative is another challenge.
"I just don't know if we will have 60 votes" for anything, Durbin said.
Many Republicans argue that the order by president trump to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, on March % has lost its force after a federal court blocked the order, with the supreme court taking charge of the case.
Discussions on how the appeal by the Trump administration will be handle is due to take place of Friday when the nine justices meet. If the court decides to hear the case, an announcement could come as soon as Friday afternoon and a decision by late June.
The Senate's debate on Monday, centred on three main approaches:
- "Dream Act" legislation to shield Dreamers who meet specific requirements and background checks. This would provide them a pathway to citizenship in up to 13 years. Supporters are open to coupling this with stronger border enforcement measures.
- The White House's "four pillars:" Up to 1.8 million Dreamers would be protected. But in exchange for this, Trump wants funding for his U.S.-Mexico border wall, an end to a visa lottery program and tough curbs on visas for immigrants' families.
- A bipartisan bill from Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Chris Coon blending a few such ideas.