Senators defy veto threat to craft immigration deal
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.