Group reaches deal on Dream­ers, wall


WASH­ING­TON — A group of se­na­tors reached a bi­par­ti­san agree­ment Wed­nes­day aimed at bal­anc­ing Democrats’ fight to of­fer cit­i­zen­ship to young “Dreamer” im­mi­grants with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­mands for bil­lions to a bor­der wall with Mex­ico, law­mak­ers said.

Though the mea­sure sprang from around two dozen se­na­tors and was win­ning sup­port from many Democrats, it faced an un­cer­tain fate. Lead­ers were try­ing to sched­ule votes on that plan and three other im­mi­gra­tion pro­pos­als for Thurs­day, which they hoped would bring the cham­ber’s show­down over the hot­but­ton is­sue to a close.

While not specif­i­cally men­tion­ing the bi­par­ti­san pact, Trump urged law­mak­ers to op­pose any plan that doesn’t meet his de­mands, which in­clude curbs on le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and the abo­li­tion of a visa lot­tery.

The Se­nate’s No. 2 Repub­li­can, John Cornyn of Texas, warned that law­mak­ers need to ad­dress Trump’s en­tire pro­posal, say­ing, “We need to take the pres­i­dent se­ri­ously.”

There were also qualms among Democrats. The party’s No. 2 Se­nate leader, Richard Durbin of Illi­nois, said some Democrats had “se­ri­ous is­sues” with parts of the plan. Those con­cerns fo­cused on its spend­ing for Trump’s wall and its bar against Dream­ers spon­sor­ing their par­ents for le­gal res­i­dency.

“We’re not there yet,” Durbin said of the 60 votes the pro­posal would need for ap­proval.

So far, no other pro­pos­als from ei­ther side seem able to do that. Repub­li­cans con­trol the cham­ber 51-49, though Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has missed the last sev­eral weeks while bat­tling can­cer.

The bi­par­ti­san pro­posal emerged as se­na­tors spent a third day of de­bate largely as they spent the first two — with the cham­ber floor mostly empty.

Other than an ini­tial roll call al­low­ing for­mal de­bate to be­gin, there have been no other votes while party lead­ers talk be­hind the scenes about sched­ul­ing votes on spe­cific pro­pos­als.

Ac­cord­ing to sev­eral se­na­tors, the pro­posal would grant a 10- to 12-year route to cit­i­zen­ship for Dream­ers, with Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, R-S.C., say­ing it would cover 1.8 mil­lion of them.

The plan would pro­vide $25 bil­lion over a decade, $2.5 bil­lion an­nu­ally, for a wall and other bor­der se­cu­rity mea­sures, the same to­tal Trump has re­quested. It would bar Dream­ers from spon­sor­ing their par­ents for cit­i­zen­ship, far nar­rower than Trump’s pro­posal to pre­vent all le­gal im­mi­grants from bring­ing par­ents and sib­lings to the U.S.

The mea­sure does not al­ter a lot­tery that dis­trib­utes about 55,000 visas an­nu­ally to peo­ple from di­verse coun­tries.

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