Washington (February 16, 2018): The US Senate rejected a series of bills to protect “Dreamer” immigrants on Thursday, leaving in limbo the future of 1.8 million young adults brought to the United States illegally as children.
The Senate failed to get the 60 votes needed to move forward on four separate proposals, including one backed by President Donald Trump and a bipartisan bill that had been considered the most likely to survive the deeply divided Senate.But Trump slammed the bipartisan measure as “a total catastrophe” and backed a Republican plan that garnered only 39 votes, the fewest of all four plans. That led Democrats to complain the president’s uncompromising approach was sinking bipartisan efforts in Congress.
”This vote is proof that President Trump’s plan will never become law. If he would stop torpedoing bipartisan efforts, a good bill would pass,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said.The Senate votes were the latest in a series of failures in Congress in recent years to pass a comprehensive immigration plan, and they left lawmakers and immigration advocates searching for a way forward for the young Dreamer immigrants.
Although the protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are due to start expiring on March 5, federal judges have blocked that from taking effect amid ongoing litigation.“This does not have to be the end of our efforts to resolve these matters,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said after the vote. “I would encourage members to put away the talking points to get serious about finding a solution that can actually become law.”
Trump had insisted that any immigration bill to protect Dreamers should also include funds to build a border wall with Mexico, end the visa lottery program and impose curbs on visas for the families of legal immigrantsRepublican Senator Bob Corker told there could now be a debate on attaching a short-term extension of protections for Dreamers on a government funding bill that Congress must pass by March 23 to avoid a shutdown.