Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Christopher Coons (D-DE) will roll out an immigration bill on Monday which omits funding for a southern border wall, provides a path to citizenship for more "Dreamers" than President Trump has agreed to, and calls for a study to determine whether addition border security measures are needed, according to the Wall St. Journal.
The bipartisan bill aims to provide a compromise between Republicans and Democrats in order to pave the way for a budget deal before the federal government runs out of money on Friday.
While Mr. Trump said he is open to providing Dreamers with a path to citizenship, he has repeatedly said that there would be no deal without wall funding - telling Ranking Democrat Chuck Schumer "If there is no Wall, there is no DACA"
Cryin’ Chuck Schumer fully understands, especially after his humiliating defeat, that if there is no Wall, there is no DACA. We must have safety and security, together with a strong Military, for our great people!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2018
Senate aides revealed to the Journal that the plan would allow illegal immigrants who have resided in the US since December 31, 2013 legal status and a path to citizenship - which is a much larger number of people than the 1.8 million covered under Trump's proposal.
Meanwhile, the bill would require the State Department to submit a three-year strategy aimed at addressing the underlying causes of migration from Central America into the United States (because a better standard of living, lower crime, and taxpayer funded government handouts aren't the obvious conclusion, apparently). As the Journal aptly points out, "Many Central Americans try to enter the U.S. illegally because of severe drug gang violence in their home countries."
The Journal reported that the legislation is "almost identical" to House legislation introduced by Reps. Will Hurd (R-TX) and Pete Aguilar (D-CA), which has the support of 27 Democrats and 27 Republicans in the House.
“It’s time we end the gridlock so we can quickly move on to completing a long-term budget agreement that provides our men and women in uniform the support they deserve,” McCain said in a statement to the Journal on Sunday.
“While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” he continued.
The legislation also calls for the hiring of 55 new judges per year, along with dozens of staff attorneys for three years, in order to clear out the enormous backlog in the immigration-court system.
The federal government shut down for three days in January after an impasse between Senate Republicans and Democrats, who would not budge unless a deal was reached to provide citizenship for those covered under DACA.