Sen­a­tors defy veto threat to craft im­mi­gra­tion deal

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - - NATION - By Sh­eryl Gay Stol­berg and Michael D. Shear

2 WASHINGTON >> A broad bi­par­ti­san group of sen­a­tors reached agree­ment Wed­nes­day on a nar­row re­write of the na­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion laws that would boost border se­cu­rity and re­solve the fate of the so-called Dream­ers, even as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump sug­gested he would veto any plan that does not ad­here to his hard­er­line ap­proach.

Their com­pro­mise leg­is­la­tion sets up a clash pit­ting the wide po­lit­i­cal cen­ter of the Se­nate against Trump and the Repub­li­can con­gres­sional lead­er­ship.

Sen­a­tors in both par­ties have been rac­ing against a self­im­posed, end-of-the-week dead­line to write leg­is­la­tion that could win wide sup­port by in­creas­ing border se­cu­rity while at the same time of­fer­ing a path to cit­i­zen­ship for young im­mi­grants brought to the United States il­le­gally as chil­dren.

Mem­bers of the bi­par­ti­san group, which calls it­self the Com­mon Sense Coali­tion, said their deal does just that. They were work­ing Wed­nes­day evening to de­ter­mine if their bill could garner the 60 votes nec­es­sary to break a fil­i­buster.

“The pres­i­dent’s go­ing to have a vote on his con­cept. I don’t think it will get 60 votes,” said Sen. Lindsey Gra­ham, R-S.C., who is a mem­ber of the group.

“The bottom line then is: What do you do next?” he con­tin­ued. “You can do what we’ve done for the last 35 years — blame each other. Or you can ac­tu­ally start fix­ing the bro­ken im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem. If you came out of this with strong border se­cu­rity — the pres­i­dent get­ting his wall and the DREAM Act pop­u­la­tion be­ing taken care of, most Amer­i­cans would ap­plaud.”

The bi­par­ti­san mea­sure would in­clude $25 bil­lion for the pres­i­dent’s pro­posed wall at the Mex­i­can border and of­fer a path to cit­i­zen­ship for 1.8 mil­lion of the young im­mi­grants but would pre­clude their par­ents from be­com­ing cit­i­zens, Gra­ham said.

But in a morn­ing state­ment, Trump urged sen­a­tors to op­pose any bill that did not also em­brace the “four pil­lars” of his im­mi­gra­tion ap­proach, which in­cludes a re­write of the na­tion’s im­mi­gra­tion laws that would close the coun­try’s bor­ders to many im­mi­grants try­ing to come to the U.S. legally.

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