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DACA and border security deal fails

After months of negotiations, senators failed to advance a bipartisan proposal to resolve the future of millions of young undocumented immigrants.

Bipartisan deal that would have paired a pathway to citizenship for nearly 2 million undocumented immigrants failed. This immigrants came to the US as children with $25 billion in border security. They failed to get the 60 votes necessary to advance legislation after furious White House opposition.

The vote was 54-45.

A competing White House-backed plan that would have also substantially increased federal deportation powers, heavily cut family-based legal migration and ended the diversity visa also failed, 39-60.

White House was able to kill momentum for a deal that had emerged out of weeks of talks by roughly 20 bipartisan senators.

Trump called the bipartisan bill “a total catastrophe,” tweeting that “Voting for this amendment would be a vote AGAINST law enforcement, and a vote FOR open borders.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, said on the Senate floor that the plan would be called the “olly olly oxen free amendment.”

The legislation from a group of 16 bipartisan senators would offer nearly 2 million young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children before 2012 — like those protected under DACA — a path to citizenship over 10 to 12 years.

The plan would also place $25 billion in a guarded trust for border security. Also, would cut a small number of green cards each year for adult children of current green card holders. And would prevent parents from being sponsored for citizenship by their US citizen children, if those children gained citizenship through the pathway created in the bill or if they brought the children to the US illegally.

What’s next?

Sen. Susan Collins said she was “very disappointed” as she left the chamber. “I fear we’re going to end up with nothing getting 60 votes. And so we’ve got real problems that we need to solve,” the Maine Republican told reporters.

“I think it has to come back because the March deadline, but I don’t know in what form or how,” she added, referring to Trump’s move to end DACA on March 5, although that plan is currently blocked in the courts.

“I thought the deadline and I thought the empathy that people have for these young people would be enough to change the outcome here, but apparently not yet,” Cornyn said.

Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana, who voted against the bipartisan amendment, said he doubts Congress will return to immigration after it gets back from next week’s recess.

“I’m ready to move on. We wasted a whole week here. And I’m ready to move on. There are other issues in front of us.”

He was very critical of leadership for the way this was all handled.

That’s not what happened. And we wasted a whole week. There was virtually no debate. There was less than an hour of debate.”

Senators peeved at White House

DACA hangs in the balance as bipartisan deal gets hit from all sides

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, said “I fear the White House that have not yet figured out that legislation is a compromise.”

“To now be in a position where we’re going to be voting sometime today and to have the response coming out of the White House as it is is discouraging,” she said. “Basically, everybody loses.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told reporters, “I’m looking for leadership from the White House, not demagoguery.”

Graham directed a message to the President himself: “There’s a deal to be had there, President Trump. You just need to lead us to that deal. You need to understand that there’s nobody better to do this than you. But to the administration if you continue this attack on everything and everybody and make it a political exercise, we’re doomed to fair, and it is President Trump’s presidency that will be the biggest loser.”

Trump plan rejected

Trump had explicitly endorsed a measure from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that encapsulates the White House’s desired immigration results.

DACA bill includes a pathway to citizenship and money for security. Also significant limits to legal immigration, including family-based migration and the diversity visa lottery.

“If Dems are actually serious about DACA, they should support the Grassley bill!” Trump tweeted Thursday.

Murkowski lamented that the White House won’t look beyond the Grassley measure.

“The White House has made its decision. They say that Grassley is the DACA bill they’re going to support. Period,” she said. “I think that’s unfortunate. I don’t think that Grassley is going to get the votes. As a consequence the bipartisan product might not get the votes that it needs.”

That amendment failed 39-60.

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