Senate votes to begin immigration debate

Sen. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., may offer the so-called Dream Act, the latest version of the almost 20-year-old proposal to provide the young immigrants a path to legal status and citizenship.

"This President ran on the most outspoken, anti-immigration platform of any presidential candidate in modern history".

Those talks were still underway in the office of Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. "We hadn't faced something quite that organized and specific when we took this up five years ago".

The citizenship hopes of 1.8 million immigrants brought to the United States as children hung in the balance Monday as Congress launched debate on the hot-button issue, with President Donald Trump eager to "make a deal" on new legislation. But a recent court ruling has rendered that deadline all but meaningless.

Monday's vote was 97-1. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Missouri and member of leadership. That led leaders to increasingly limit debate and restrict the ability to offer amendments.

US President Donald Trump makes a speech as he and the first lady host a National African American History Month reception at the White House in Washington, US, February 13, 2018. We can use all the support we can get!

A senior Democratic aide said, "How freewheeling it is an unanswered question", referring to the floor debate.

A GOP bill tracking Trump's proposal and backed by McConnell has been introduced. And a bipartisan group of lawmakers is still trying to craft their own proposal to present for a vote. Highlighting the partisan gap, there was plenty of finger-pointing on Monday. John Barrasso of Wyoming said.

This is, of course, what you would expect from an administration whose chief law enforcement official, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, just hailed "the Anglo-American heritage of law enforcement".

For example, depending on the circumstances, the agenda can be set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or can be tangled up as many Senators push for votes on their proposals.

McConnell has proposed what is a shell bill, to be amended and debated over the upcoming days and weeks. Coons said he was prepared to vote for the measure. That sparked the real action of the day.

In a statement released by the White House, Trump urged the Senate to support legislation offered by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley that would also scale back two immigration programs that bring more than 300,000 people into the United States each year.

But the Grassley bill likely doesn't have the backing of 60 votes or even 50, with Republicans like Arizona Sen.

A move toward a merit-based immigration system, they said, would offset the cuts to overall legal immigration levels by reallocating family-based visas to high-skilled workers.

Democrats have sensed that an immigration deal may not come together, and are preparing to pin the blame on Trump.

Top Republicans said Trump's plan has the best shot at becoming law out of those being considered. It was also unclear how far afield amendments would get, and if senators would be able to offer proposals on any provision of immigration or just the four pillars being proposed by President Donald Trump: border security, broadly defined to included physical security and enforcement powers; ending the diversity visa lottery; curtailing family-based migration; and a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the policy that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children to stay in the country and that Trump has made a decision to end.

Democrats want citizenship for Dreamers but are unwilling to clamp down on legal immigration. Graham have only a few GOP sponsors, including Colorado GOP Sen.

If there's a middle ground, it's not clear yet. Kristi Andersen, professor emerita of political science at SU's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, said she believes congressional Republicans are responding to their base, including donors and people in the administration, rather than what the American people generally want.

Vanessa Coleman

Comments