Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is preparing a bill that would allow some illegal immigrants who were granted legal status via one of Obama's executive orders to stay in the country permanently. According to Politico, Graham hopes to place the bill on the floor during the next Congress. If President-elect Donald Trump, who has promised to repeal Obama's executive orders regarding immigration, does not get on board with the bill, Graham would need to build enough support to override a potential veto.
The beneficiaries of Obama's 2012 executive action, known as DREAMers, have been a hot button political issue for the last several years. Under Obama's program, young children of illegal immigrants were granted deferred action on possible deportation and also issued permits allowing them to work legally. Estimates indicate that about three-quarters of a million illegal immigrants have benefitted from the program.
Graham is expecting to corral bipartisan support for the bill, knowing that he will need the help of Democrats to get such legislation passed, especially after Trump's victory. Per Politico:
One Democrat who has spoken to Graham about the issue and potential legislative remedies is Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Senate Democrat who has been giving daily floor speeches since the election on behalf of the beneficiaries of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, who are known as Dreamers.
“Durbin will be involved in any effort to save the Dreamers,” spokesman Ben Marter said of the senator, who first introduced legislation to give Dreamers a pathway to citizenship 15 years ago and who first proposed the idea of DACA two years before Obama formally issued his directive.
The plan discussed by Graham would apply just to the immigrants who had been approved under the 2012 directive from Obama. Graham indicated that the legislation would be a bridge from a repeal of DACA “until we can fix the overall problem.”
“It’s going to be basically, if you have legal status, you’ll continue legal status,” Graham said. “I think it would pass overwhelmingly.”
President-elect Trump has not yet commented on the legislation, but given his explicit promises on the campaign trail, a presidential veto seems likely.