Bills Introduced in Both Chambers Provide Common Sense Solution for Dreamers

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Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Coons (D-DE) introduced the United and Securing America (U.S.A) Act in the Senate this week, which includes a permanent solution for Dreamers as well as border security measures.

While the recently released White House immigration framework has not enjoyed bipartisan support, versions of this bill in the House of Representatives and Senate have backing from both Democrats and Republicans. This indicates that a narrower approach has the best chance at passage.

The timing of this bipartisan legislation is significant, as it may represent the first real effort by Senate Republicans to bring an immigration bill to the floor to save Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients after their promise to do so during last month’s government shutdown.

In exchange for ending the government shutdown in January, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised he would bring an immigration bill to the floor that “would address DACA and border security, as well as other related issues.” However, McConnell has not indicated which bill he will bring to the floor.

The White House urged Senator McConnell to turn their immigration framework into legislation, but that proposal has the support of few Republicans.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Tuesday he “doubts” President Trump will extend the March 5 deadline set after the DACA termination, underscoring the need for an immediate solution.

The U.S.A. Act would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youth who were brought to this country before the age of 18. Other requirements for Dreamers would include arrival to the United States before January 1, 2014, passing a background check, and meeting certain educational requirements.

On border security, the bill takes a more strategic approach than its partisan counterparts, requiring a comprehensive border strategy be in place by 2020.

The bill would also increase the number of immigration judges and provide funding to countries in Central America to help them counteract the violence that has led so many families and children to flee in recent years.

A version of this bill was also introduced in the House last month by Representatives Aguilar (D-CA) and Hurd (R-TX) with 50 co-sponsors, evenly split among Democrats and Republicans.

The president’s immigration framework that drastically reshapes our immigration system does not have the support of Congress—however, a bill that focuses on protecting Dreamers and strategic border security does.


About The Author

Joshua Breisblatt is a Policy Analyst at the American Immigration Council. Prior to joining the Council he worked at the National Immigration Forum for over four years where he was Manager of Advocacy and Policy. In that role, Josh was the Forum’s main point of contact with U.S. government agencies and the U.S. Congress. He also specialized in border issues, including enforcement, civil rights, oversight of Customs and Border Protection, and trade and commerce at U.S. ports of entry. Josh earned his J.D. from The George Washington University School Law and his B.S. from Arizona State University. Prior to attending law school, he worked for Former Congressman Harry Mitchell from Arizona.


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