A bipartisan plan and President Trump’s immigration proposal were both denied — leaving Dreamers unsteady. Recently the Senate debated about the bipartisan plan and Trump’s new pillars of immigration, but ended in disagreement which can be classified as a failure. The Senate’s motivation to secure an immigration and DACA deal came to an end on Thursday, February 15th, with a bipartisan and White House proposal both denied. Inside of the disagreement, a conservative senator from Oklahoma, James Lankford, had been working since September to help the Dreamers in the United States. Also, Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan is having difficulty with the Dreamers as GOP (Grand Old Party) breaks down; he is under pressure to take up a conservative immigration bill — he doesn’t have the votes to pass it. President Trump also threats the veto.
The Washington Post states about the bipartisan plan and it goes as such: “The looming danger on the minds of the officials was a piece of legislation scheduled for a vote the next day in the Senate. It was designed to spare hundreds of thousands of young immigrants known as “dreamers” from deportation — but to the men and women huddled in a makeshift war room in a Department of Homeland Security facility, the measure would blow open U.S. borders to lawless intruders.” After several weeks of bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill, it was the White House that is a key obstacle stopping a deal to help the Dreamers in the United States.
President Trump had threatened to veto the immigration bill, which protected the young DACA recipient immigrants in exchange for $25 billion in border security, because it did not include the checks on legal immigration he put in place with the four pillars. The breakdown in the Senate leaves the fate of Dreamers in the hands of federal courts. Two judges have already temporarily blocked President Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on March 5th. The Trump administration attorneys are looking for reassurance from the Supreme Court, which could announce soon whether it will decide the matter.
The debate over the fate of Dreamers changed last August, when Trump funded a proposal that would make large cuts to legal immigration. Trump then moved to canceling the DACA program the next month, leaving the DACA program in the hands of Congress to deal with.
President Donald Trump also said in a tweet before the vote that passing of the law would be a “total catastrophe,” because it did not include the limits the White House wants on family visas of chain migration and the diversity lottery system.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is struggling to come up with a plan on the immigration situation, and he faces a conservative negative reaction if he makes the wrong decision with this bill. Paul Ryan, a Republican, is under a growing pressure from the House Freedom Caucus to put a conservative point of view Dreamer solution on the House floor. Chairman Mark Meadows said on Wednesday that while he doesn’t think there’s talk about replacing Ryan at the moment, “there are certainly new conversations that would involve new leadership.” This states that Chairman Mark Meadows thinks that there will be a new person to replace Ryan if he can’t make a decision.
Meadows also states, “I can say that it is a defining moment for this speaker: If he gets it wrong, it will have consequences for him, but it will also have consequences for the rest of the Republican Party.
In the past couple weeks, conservatives have stated that leadership isn’t pushing the moderates hard enough. GOP leaders, such as Scalise, have pushed back on that, including in one recent Republican Study Committee meeting where he took the group’s number one staff member to task for suggesting as much. GOP leaders are actually divided on the matter in three groups. The first group wants to put the bill on the floor for a vote, the second group is not even interested, and the third group floated the bill to show they do not care.
In the last couple of hours of the debate, people in both parties knew the effort for the bill didn’t have a chance. Even after Lankford backed out, senators and aides working on the bill said that they could get “fence-sitting” Republicans to come their way. The Trump administration had other plans. A statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security in the morning got rid of any hopes of securing sixty votes. The King-Rounds bill would convert the United States into “a sanctuary nation where ignoring the rule of law is encouraged.”
Only eight Republicans voted for King’s proposal, and thirty-six GOP senators backed the president’s hard-line plan. The Republicans weren’t the only ones that were divided. In fact, the Democrats were going through problems leading up to the vote as well.
In the end of it all, three Democrats voted no, which were New Mexico Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall, and California Senator Kamala Harris. That small number did not reflect the hard feelings within the conference. In previous weeks, Democratic leaders had gotten in a fight over the budget after McConnell promised a vote on immigration, and this was hardly the result rank-and-file members pictured.
Harris’ “no” vote caused the most problems on the Democratic side. This left some Democrats very furious. For example, Lily Adams, a spokeswoman for Harris, stated, “Senator Harris voted her conscience on an issue she’s worked on for years, and that impacts California more than any other state in the country. Dreamers have been and remain her No. 1 priority.” Another example is a Democratic staff member whose boss was fighting for the bill, stating, “If Sen. Harris tries to use this ‘no’ vote to get to the left of her colleagues in Iowa … she’ll be rightly and roundly pummeled for it. Some Democrats fought for Dreamers today, others fought for themselves.”
Democrats said it was the Republicans such as Thomas Tillis and James Lankford who were too willing to give up. They said those senators never seemed engaged in how far Democrats were moving toward Trump and his Southern border wall. Democrats also slammed Trump for vetoing the compromise bill. “The White House, with this take it or leave it position, is evidently more interested in hurting kids who grew up here than in creating jobs and generating economic growth,” said Senator Ron Wyden “I think this is a decision our country is going to regret.”
Focusing on Trump vetoing the bill, President Trump’s veto threat was the first of his presidency, which is a bold move against an effort that had been put together by a group of sixteen senators. Republicans, Democrats and one independent have been working for weeks in private to reach a consensus.
A Department of Homeland Security official said that according to internal analyses, the bill could actually give a pathway to citizenship for more than 3 million young immigrants.
Senator Bob Corker said he felt that the bill would encourage more immigrants to come to the country. “The prioritization piece in essence began the process of creating another Dreamer category for 10 million people. I don’t think that is what they intended, “ Corker said. He predicts that the Senate will still have to deal with the end of the DACA program, adding that he thought a long-term extension of the program could be included in the budget bill coming up in a couple of weeks.
In a local point-of-view interview with Debbie Stabenow through email, she states, “Thousands of Michigan citizens have contacted me to share their concerns with our broken immigration system and there is no question that we need comprehensive immigration reform. Our current immigration system hurts families, workers, businesses, and farmers each and every day. I understand how this complicated system hurts families who are trying to stay together and children who were brought to the United States at a young age. As you know, the Trump Administration announced that it would no longer protect the children, who through no fault of their own, were brought to the United States. I believe this decision is wrong for Michigan, which is why I support the Dream Act.”
In conclusion, Dreamers protected under the DACA program are left unsteady due to an immigration bill failure in the past couple of weeks. Different issues on the Republican and Democratic sides made this bill fail. Such things as Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, failing to get votes for the bill contributed to the failure. President Trump also makes a bold move by vetoing the bill, which once again, adds to the failure of the bill. There are also point of views from the Democratic and Republican sides on what they think the causes were. In one interview with Debbie Stabenow, a United States Senator from Michigan, also gives her thoughts on the new bill.