Report: McCain, Coons to Introduce Immigration Bill That Won't Make Trump Happy

Posted: Feb 05, 2018 8:05 AM
Report: McCain, Coons to Introduce Immigration Bill That Won't Make Trump Happy

With the federal government’s funding running out on Friday, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) will introduce immigration legislation Monday with the hope of reaching a budget deal in time to avert another government shutdown.

The bill gives Dreamers, the recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, a legal status and path to citizenship. The measure would also order a study to determine what border security measures are necessary.

But President Trump and conservative Republicans will likely balk at the plan, as it fails to meet a number of the White House’s demands—most notably, it does not include funding for the border wall.

Trump last month called for $25 billion aimed at the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, a DACA fix, beefing up border security and enforcement, including the number of deportations, limiting chain migration, and an end to the visa lottery program. 

The senators’ bill would provide legal status and a path to citizenship for young immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since Dec. 31, 2013, aides said Sunday. That is expected to be a larger group than would be covered by Mr. Trump’s proposed 1.8 million people.

Aiming to tighten border security, their bill calls for the Homeland Security Department to devise a strategy for situational awareness and operational control of the border by 2020. The bill would provide a $110 million annual grant for five years to improve coordination between border-patrol agents and state and local law-enforcement officials. It wouldn’t, however, direct any funding for border technology or the more-controversial barriers or wall that Mr. Trump wants.

The legislation also calls for clearing a backlog in the immigration-court system by hiring 55 new judges per year, as well as dozens of staff attorneys, for three years. The bill would also direct the State Department to submit a three-year strategy aimed at addressing the underlying causes of immigration from Central America to the U.S. Many Central Americans try to enter the U.S. illegally because of severe drug gang violence in their home countries. (WSJ)

“It’s time we end the gridlock so we can quickly move on to completing a long-term budget agreement that provides our men and women in uniform the support they deserve,” Mr. McCain said in a statement Sunday.

“While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” he added.

Update: Trump on Monday said any proposed solution that doesn't include border wall funding is a "total waste of time."