The group of swing-vote Senators announced Wednesday morning they had completed a draft amnesty bill which would deliver just two of President Donald Trump’s four immigration requirements.
But their amnesty announcement came so late in the Senate’s immigration debate that Trump has already announced his support for the bill drafted by Sen. Chuck Grassley and several other GOP senators. The announcement said:
The Grassley bill accomplishes the four pillars of the White House Framework: a lasting solution on DACA, ending chain migration, cancelling the visa lottery, and securing the border through building the wall and closing legal loopholes. I am asking all senators, in both parties, to support the Grassley bill and to oppose any legislation that fails to fulfill these four pillars – that includes opposing any short-term “Band-Aid” approach. The overwhelming majority of American voters support a plan that fulfills the Framework’s four pillars, which move us towards the safe, modern, and lawful immigration system our people deserve.
Trump also commended the House bill drafted by GOP Rep. Bob Goodlatte and three other House chairmen.
At the same time, I remain encouraged by developments in the House toward advancing legislation from Chairmen Goodlatte and McCaul that also enshrines our four pillars.
Now that our military is fully funded, and will be rebuilt stronger than ever before, my focus is on enacting responsible and commonsense immigration reform that delivers for the American People.
The new “talking stick” amnesty was developed by a group of swing-voting senators, informally led by GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. In 2017, her state had just 95 DACA illegals of the population of 700,0000 DACA illegals nationwide.
The bill includes just two of Trump’s requirements because it excludes a reform of the chain-migration and visa lottery programs. Those measures are excluded largely because business groups oppose any reductions to the annual inflow of immigrant workers and consumers.
The bill just offers an amnesty for at least 1.8 million illegals and provides $25 billion for the border wall, spread over roughly 15 years. It does not include any of the border-wall legal reforms which officials say are needed to block migrants from using loopholes to get through the wall.
BREAKING: details of bipart senate imm proposal per @LindseyGrahamSC.– DACA and border security only– DACA path for citizenship for 1.8 million– at least $25b for border security – Family migration limited for DACA parents only – not allowed to gain status via their kids.
— Lisa Desjardins (@LisaDNews) February 14, 2018
Democratic leaders are pushing the talking-stick bill because their own DREAM Act proposals by Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Graham have only a few GOP sponsors, including Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner.
The Democrats may try to get a vote on the swing-vote Senator’s bill on February 14 or February 15, partly because the Senate’s immigration debate may not continue on Friday, February 16.
The process for getting a vote on the bill is fraught, however, because Senate’s rules are complex. For example, depending on the circumstances, the agenda can be set by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or can be tangled up as many Senators push for votes on their proposals.
Also, the talking-stick bill may not be ready for a vote on Thursday because draft bills must be carefully translated into legalese before any debate and vote.