By Ted Hesson
December 20, 2017
SENATORS EYE DACA DEAL IN JANUARY: “Top senators and White House officials are laying the groundwork for a major immigration deal in January to resolve the fate of young undocumented immigrants whose legal protections were put in limbo by President Donald Trump,” write POLITICO’s Seung Min Kim, Heather Caygle and Elana Schor.
“At a Tuesday afternoon meeting with nearly a dozen senators deeply involved in immigration policy, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly pledged that the administration will soon present a list of border security and other policy changes it wants as part of a broader deal on so-called Dreamers, according to people who attended the meeting,” POLITICO reports. “The plan could come in a matter of days, senators said.”
“About a half-dozen senators have been negotiating a bipartisan package prompted by Trump’s decision to kill the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama-era executive action that granted work permits to nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came here as minors,” the trio report. “Yet the senators could not fully flesh out a deal before they knew what Trump was willing to sign.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday dismissed the idea that the Senate could grapple with DACA-related legislation before the end of the year. Congress needs to pass a spending bill by Friday to avoid a government shutdown. “No, we’ll not be doing DACA … this week,” McConnell said. “That’s a matter to be discussed next year. The president has given us until March to address that issue. We have plenty of time to do it.” DACA enrollment will begin to expire in large numbers by March, according to the timeline crafted by the Trump administration.
The prospect of a January bargain could give lawmakers cover if they opt to ignore DACA for now. But it isn’t certain Democrats will go along. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “put Republicans on notice Tuesday that they shouldn’t count on Democratic votes for a short-term funding package that includes just some of Democrats’ priorities — such as children’s health insurance — while leaving immigration for next year.”
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