WASHINGTON, D.C. —Two bipartisan bills currently on the table in the Senate offer lawmakers a historic opportunity to pass a permanent solution for Dreamers.
However, the deck is stacked against the two bills. The best chance of moving the immigration debate forward is if senators put people over politics by supporting both of the pending bipartisan bills sponsored by Sens. Mike Rounds (R-South Dakota) and Angus King (I-Maine) and Sens. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware). In an interview this morning, Rounds expressed concern over prospects for a bipartisan solution, suggesting that his bill, if offered last, “would have garnered more than 60 votes to move forward to be a vehicle to actually get something done.”
A hardline bill from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), which provides only limited protection for Dreamers while dramatically slashing legal immigration, will be voted on last, making Republicans less likely to support more balanced bipartisan legislation that will be voted on earlier.
Meanwhile, other immigration proposals on the table include harmful provisions that would undermine public safety. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania) introduced a proposal that would target the use of federal grants in so-called “sanctuary cities,” shifting significant immigration enforcement responsibilities to state and local law enforcement agencies, which have limited resources and capacity.
In a letter to senators this week, nearly 50 law enforcement leaders expressed concern over immigration proposals that attempt to impose punitive, “one-size fits-all” policies on state and local law enforcement, stating that such attempts “sweep too broadly, punishing jurisdictions that engage in well-established community policing practices.”
If Congress cannot agree on a solution, many more thousands of Dreamers will face the possibility of losing their work permits and being subject to deportation. The issue is compounded by the President Trump’s threat to veto any resulting bill unless it advances the reforms outlined in the White House, setting the administration up for failure by rejecting bipartisan proposals that would mark success for both Congress and the president.
“President Trump’s refusal to compromise is not only detrimental to a commonsense solution, it’s self-sabotaging and counterproductive to a win for the White House,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “Our president and senators should put people before politics and seize the opportunity to score a historic win by supporting bipartisan solutions that balance a permanent solution for Dreamers with enhanced, measured border security.”