Senate approves skeleton bill, begins immigration debate
by Evan Wilt
Posted 2/13/18, 10:32 am
WASHINGTON—The Senate kick-started the immigration debate Monday, eyeing a quick compromise on legislation to protect nearly 700,000 illegal immigrants from deportation. Lawmakers voted 97-1 to begin debate on a skeleton bill that will serve as a vehicle for specific proposals. “This is going to be done or not done this week,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, told reporters Monday. “People had better get to work because the clock is ticking.” Immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program begin losing their status after March 5. President Donald Trump announced the program’s expiration in September, forcing Congress to find a legislative solution. The proposed White House plan would provide a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million eligible immigrants brought to the country as children, a group often referred to as “dreamers,” and invest $25 billion in new border security measures. A group of seven GOP senators drafted the plan, one of several proposals up for debate this week. Democrats call the proposal a non-starter since it would significantly cut the number of legal immigrants permitted into the United States each year. “Democrats are fully committed to protecting the dreamers, and we have long supported effective border security,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Monday. “The only enemy to this process is overreach. Now is not the time nor the place to reform the entire legal immigration system.”
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Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.