Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have reached an initial framework to strengthen border security and pave the way to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as childrensource told CNN.
Democrats have bet on the lame duck session – the period after the midterm elections and before the new Congress begins – to try to pass legislation addressing Obama-era recipients Deferred Action Program for Incoming Children before they lost their majority in the House.
For months, Tillis and Sinema — who often work with Republicans — have discussed a deal that would settle DACA beneficiaries, as well as those eligible for participation and border security.
The details are yet to be finalized and there is no legal document. It’s also not clear if there’s enough Senate support – at least 60 votes – to promote legislation.
Senate aides insist that the framework is a draft. One of the aides said White House and Senate leaders were also not involved in the discussions.
According to two Senate aides, the bill’s framework has at least $25 billion to $40 billion in border security funding, including increases in wages for Border Patrol agents and additional resources for Border Patrol agents. Customs and Border Protection officers. The aides said they are also focusing resources on speeding up the processing of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Most notably, the framework includes an expansion of the controversial Trump-era border policy, called Title 42, allowing the deportation of migrants encountered at the southern border of the United States. The public health agency, established at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, will end at the end of this month by court order.
Aides said the administration will stay in place for at least a year, while processing centers are set up.
Radical Democrats have opposed Title 42 since its inception and likely won’t support legislation renewing it, while senior Republicans have been clear about wanting restrictions. strict borders with any immigration reform.
Immigrant advocates expressed cautious optimism over Monday’s draft framework.
“The reported news is the outline of a compromise. It is important that this process continues moving forward. We know that those who want to see the Dreamers forced out and deported will try to kill any relief. Everyone should be very clear: if Congress fails to pass legislation during the lame duck era, the consequences will be dire,” FWD.us President Todd Schulte said in a statement.
For years, Congress has tried and failed to pass legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship or addresses the immigration system. But Democratic lawmakers had hoped to strike a deal with Republicans to provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients during the lame duck session.
DACA, established in 2012, aims to provide temporary exemptions to undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, a group often described as the “Dreamers”. Many of them are now adults.
Most recently, a federal appeals court majority support the lower court’s ruling found the program illegal and resubmitted the case – renewing the urgency of addressing the population.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin – an Illinois Democrat and longtime Dreamers supporter – said he supported the framework from Tillis and Sinema.
“As the author of the original Dream Act more than 20 years ago, I applaud any goodwill efforts to give these deserving individuals the path to citizenship. I have been in contact with my colleagues and will carefully consider their proposal,” Durbin said in a statement. “I am determined to do everything in my power to help bring about the Christmas Miracle to dreamers.”
Neither the office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer nor the office of Minority Leader Mitchel McConnell responded to CNN’s request for comment on the bill or whether it received a vote in the lame duck session. .
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked about the draft on Monday. She replied: “The President has repeatedly called on Congress to permanently protect Dreamers, farmers, essential workers, and others, and provide them with a path to becoming citizen.”
“We are committed to working with members of Congress of both parties on real solutions to modernize our outdated immigration system,” she added.