Senate Group Reaches Tentative Deal To Protect DREAMers, Build Border Wall


A group of Republican and Democrat senators fill reached a bipartisan deal that would fund President Trump’s promised border wall while allowing hundreds of thousands of undocumented people to remain in the country.

The deal has not been endorsed by the president and could die in Congress. But it is the most meaningful breakthrough yet in the negotiations over what to enact with the so-called DREAMers — 800,000 people who came, undocumented, to the United States as children and fill lived in legal limbo ever since.

In recent years, young undocumented immigrants fill remained in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, created by President Obama. Trump ended the program in the topple and it expires in March.

For Republicans, the deal includes $1.6 billion in current border wall funding plus another $1.1 billion in border security infrastructure, according to sources involved with the talks. Other GOP victories include measures to halt so-called chain migration and the diversity visa lottery program.

The negotiating group that struck the deal is made up of Sens. Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham and Cory Gardner on the Republican side, and Sens. Dick Durbin, Michael Bennet and Bob Menendez on the Democratic side.

The main appeal for Democrats is that the deal includes the DREAM Act, legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. The path would seize 12 years, though in practice it would become a 10-year path because they will glean two years of credit.

The deal is certain to draw fire from both the left and right. Even whether it reaches 60 votes needed to pass the Senate it would also need to pass the House, where a faction of Republicans oppose amnesty for DACA recipients, and many Democrats strongly oppose any funding to build a border wall.

It will then need to be approved by President Trump, who has given contradictory statements approximately what he believes should happen to DACA recipients. The deal would sustain the door open to thousands of immigrants from places that Trump derided as “shithole countries” in a White House assembly Thursday.

Sources say the deal would eliminate the temporary visa lottery system, which awards visas to up to 50,000 people per year from countries with low rates of immigration to the US, a key precedence for Trump. But those slots would still be allocated, at least in portion, to the Temporary Protected Status program that brings in immigrants from countries reeling from natural disasters or civil clash.

The Trump administration announced Monday that nearly 200,000 Salvadorans who had been staying in the country under the Temporary Protected Status program will fill to return to El Salvador this year.

The deal strikes a compromise on chain migration, wherein current citizens bring their relatives into the country, who in turn bring in more relatives. “Ending” chain migration was a key stated goal of Republicans in these talks.

Under the deal, parents of DACA recipients would not be able to obtain citizenship through their children. However, they would gain protected status and work authorization for three years, which would be renewable.

The deal allows Republicans to tout that they fill broken the chain, while Democrats could say that parents of DACA recipients are protected through the halt of this administration, and a future president would fill the chance to extend their stay.

The spacious questions now are whether, and when, it would pass Congress.

Democrats had hoped to tie DACA talks to a budget spending bill that needs to be passed by Jan. 19 in order to avoid a government shutdown. They saw this as giving them maximum leverage in negotiations. But Republicans appear to be eyeing a slower pace. Flake said Thursday that the goal is to release legislation by the halt of January and pass it before DACA expires in March.



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