US Immigration

Donald Trump knocks down new immigration bill jointly proposed by Republicans and Democrats over lack of Wall funding

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 2:12am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 February, 2018, 4:49am

US President Donald Trump apparently dismissed a bipartisan immigration proposal that surfaced in the Senate on Monday, complaining on Twitter that it did not fund for his proposed Mexico border wall

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Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Chris Coons planned to propose legislation Monday that would shield from deportation “Dreamers” - immigrants who entered the US illegally as children and were then helped by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme, or DACA.

The bill also would strengthen border security, but it would not provide the US$25 billion Trump wants for a US-Mexico border wall.

If the plan went through, it would likely avoid a looming government shutdown on February 8. But before the Senate had a chance to consider the new plan, Trump seemed to reject it on Twitter.

“Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time. March 5th [the date in which DACA expires] is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!” Trump tweeted.

McCain and Coons said in a statement that their bill was designed to focus on two “pressing” border issues – the “Dreamers” and border security – so lawmakers could focus on completing a long-overdue budget deal.

The McCain-Coons plan is a more modest approach than Trump has sought for protecting the estimated 1.8 million young immigrants.

The measure lacks Trump’s demands for limiting the relatives that “Dreamers” can sponsor for citizenship, and ending a visa lottery aimed at admitting more immigrants from diverse places including Africa.

Trump’s plans for immigration, infrastructure meet swift resistance in Congress

The senators’ plan would create a road to legal status for “Dreamers” who arrived in the US by the end of 2013 and meet other criteria, including no convictions for serious crimes. Once they’ve become lawful permanent residents, they can follow existing procedures to apply for citizenship.

Democrats and some Republicans want to give “Dreamers” a pathway to citizenship, but oppose cuts Trump would make in the number of legal immigrants allowed to enter the US.

Conservatives oppose letting “Dreamers” become citizens. That stalemate has led many to believe the likeliest outcome is a narrowly focused bill or even no legislation at all.

The senators’ proposal is similar to a bipartisan House package by Representatives Will Hurd of Texas, and Pete Aguilar of California.