US Se­nate de­bates Dream­ers

Rhetoric runs red hot on bill to de­cide im­mi­grants’ fu­ture

Global Times - - Front Page -

The US Se­nate be­gan a ma­jor, free-for-all im­mi­gra­tion de­bate, its first in nearly five years, on Mon­day evening that could de­cide the fate of at least 700,000 “Dreamer” im­mi­grants, young peo­ple brought into the coun­try il­le­gally years ago as chil­dren.

Late Mon­day, No.2 Repub­li­can Se­na­tor John Cornyn put tight time con­straints on the nor­mally slow-mov­ing Se­nate.

“It’s this week or not at all,” Cornyn said of the need for quick Se­nate ac­tion. Speak­ing to re­porters, he warned that the de­bate had to be “wrapped up” by Thurs­day, be­fore next week’s con­gres­sional re­cess.

Demo­cratic Se­na­tor Dick Durbin, Cornyn’s coun­ter­part, told re­porters he hoped a com­bi­na­tion of the Se­nate’s 49 Democrats and in­de­pen­dents, cou­pled with 11 Repub­li­cans, could get be­hind a bill, pro­pel­ling it to pas­sage.

Cornyn said tepid sup­port from Repub­li­cans was a recipe for fail­ure: “If they think... they can cob­ble to­gether a hand­ful of Repub­li­cans to go along with a ma­jor­ity of Democrats and some­how get it past the House and get the pres­i­dent to sign it, I think that’s a pipe dream.”

Un­der an or­der is­sued last year by Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, the Dream­ers could be de­ported af­ter March 5. That dead­line looms be­hind the rare Se­nate de­bate, in which no sin­gle bill was to be the cen­ter­piece and a range of ideas was in play.

By forc­ing the dead­line on Congress with his Septem­ber or­der, Trump drove a wedge be­tween Democrats and Repub­li­cans on an emo­tion­ally charged is­sue. The rhetoric around the de­bate was run­ning red-hot even be­fore it got started.

“This week we will see the hor­rific vi­sion of the White House and ex­trem­ist Repub­li­cans on full dis­play... their vi­sion is noth­ing short of white supremacy,” Greisa Martinez Rosas, a Dreamer ac­tivist told re­porters in a tele­con­fer­ence.

On the other side, the group Ad­vo­cates for Vic­tims of Il­le­gal Alien Crime said in a press re­lease: “The re­al­ity is that Amer­i­can fam­i­lies are the ones suf­fer­ing the most – their chil­dren killed – by il­le­gal alien crime.”

Bridg­ing the ugly di­vide be­tween fac­tions in the im­mi­gra­tion de­bate, one that Trump him­self has widened with his in­flam­ma­tory state­ments, will be a chal­lenge for Congress.

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