Home / World News / Bipartisan immigration proposal emerges from Senate – The Denver Post

Bipartisan immigration proposal emerges from Senate – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal on immigration Wednesday as President Donald Trump attempted to preemptively undercut the proposal by delivering an ultimatum: Pass my plan or risk a veto.

The self-dubbed “Common Sense Caucus” of senators late Wednesday circulated legislation that would fulfill Trump’s calls to grant legal status to 1.8 million young immigrants and would appropriate $25 billion for southern border security construction projects over the next decade – not immediately, as Trump wants. The bill also would curb family-based immigration programs, but not to the extent Trump is seeking, and would not end a diversity visa lottery program that he wants eliminated.

Word of an agreement came as formal debate on immigration policy is set to intensify Thursday. The new bipartisan plan is slated for a vote, as is the GOP proposal sought by Trump, another Republican bill that would punish “sanctuary” cities and a bipartisan idea that would significantly water down Trump’s demands.

A growing sense of diminishing urgency also set in as top leaders signaled that ongoing court challenges may give Congress more time than Trump’s deadline of March 5 to replace an Obama-era program shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

In a White House statement, Trump urged the Senate to back a proposal unveiled this week by a GOP group led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, saying it accomplishes his vision for immigration. At the same time, the president rejected any limited approach that deals only with “dreamers” – immigrants who have been in the country illegally since they were children – and border security.

His full-throated demand was released by the White House just minutes before a group of Democrats and Republicans gathered to negotiate an agreement.

Democrats were gauging support for the plan in their caucus late Wednesday, with the realization that Trump may reject it.

“He created this problem, and he’s making it clear today he has no intention of solving it,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a leader of the bipartisan group, was more hopeful. “I know that the president wants a result,” she said, “and my experience in the Senate is that you’re more likely to be able to get a result when you have a bipartisan plan – and that’s what we’re seeking.”

By the end of Wednesday, Collins’ group was touting its Immigration Security and Opportunity Act, which they hope could garner the 60 votes needed to pass. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., who has emerged in recent months as an under-the-radar bipartisan broker on several subjects, is lead sponsor of the bill, while its primary co-sponsors are Collins and Sens. Angus King, I-Maine, Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Tim Kaine, D-Va. King, Manchin and Kaine are up for reelection this year.

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