GOP senators to introduce immigration bill with DACA amnesty, massive border security spending

GOP senators to introduce immigration bill with DACA amnesty, massive border security spending
Seven GOP senators will introduce a bill Monday building on the immigration reform framework built by the White House. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A group of seven Republican senators plan to introduce legislation Monday that seeks compromise on immigration reform.

What does their bill do?

Led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the senators will introduce the “Secure and Succeed Act.” The bill would build on the reform framework built by the White House by including Republican and Democratic concessions.

The bill specifically lays out a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children in exchange for $25 billion in increased border security spending.

In addition, the bill places limits on family-based migration, known as “chain migration,” and toughens immigration enforcement, including a crackdown on visa overstays and immigrants who re-enter the U.S. illegally after being deported. The bill would also substantially cut the diversity visa lottery and allow the government to hire more border patrol agents.

Co-sponsoring the bill are Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (Ark.), John Cornyn (Texas), David Perdue (Ga.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and James Lankford (Okla.).

What did the senators say?

In a statement, Grassley called the legislation a “rare opportunity to fix a real problem and protect the country in a thoughtful and compassionate way.”

“This legislation is a reasonable approach to shielding children illegally brought to our country through no fault of their own while also taking the meaningful steps to ensure nobody finds themselves in the same situation in the future,” he said in a joint statement.

Cotton added:

This is the only bill that has a chance of becoming law, and that’s because it’s the only bill that will truly solve the underlying problem. It will protect those eligible for DACA but also make sure we don’t end up back here five years from now. By addressing our border security needs and limiting family sponsorship to the nuclear family, it goes far beyond the other half measures that have been proposed. This bill is generous, humane, and responsible, and now we should send it to the president’s desk.

Perdue said if Republicans and Democrats in Congress actually want to find a solution to the immigration problem, they will support the bill.

“If people really want to solve the DACA situation, secure our border, and fix the flaws in our current system that incentivize illegal immigration, they should be eager to support this plan,” he explained.

What are the chances of the bill passing the Senate?

As CNN noted, not very good. That’s because some of the bill’s proposals, such as placing substantial restrictions on chain migration and the visa lottery, have generally been nonstarters for Democrats. Any immigration reform bill needs 60 votes to shut down debate, and therefore, bipartisan support.

But there is hope the bill could be altered enough to break the 60-vote threshold. Tillis explained in the joint statement the bill will have an “open amendment process,” which will “give Senators the opportunity to improve the baseline proposal and get it signed into law.”

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