A bipartisan group of six senators has reached a deal that would shield Dreamers from deportation and make other changes to immigration laws and border security — but the framework has yet to win over the White House and other key players on Capitol Hill.
The package negotiated by the senators includes $2.7 billion for border security, which includes Trump’s $1.6 billion request for wall planning and construction, as well as $1.1 billion for security infrastructure and technology, three sources directly familiar with the negotiations confirmed to POLITICO.
The legislation would also include a 12-year pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, although people who have already been approved for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would have effectively a 10-year path because they would get two years of credit for holding DACA permits, sources said.
Lawmakers rushed to the White House for a hastily called meeting Thursday to present details of the Senate group’s plan to President Donald Trump. But White House legislative affairs director Marc Short said on Capitol Hill that the president has not yet signed off.
The Senate negotiators said they would keep working.
“President Trump called on Congress to solve the DACA challenge,” the senators said in a joint statement. “We have been working for four months and have reached an agreement in principle that addresses border security, the diversity visa lottery, chain migration/family reunification, and the Dream Act — the areas outlined by the President. We are now working to build support for that deal in Congress.”
The group includes Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
Senate Republican leaders said they, too, are seeking details of the agreement.
“I think it’s a good idea for them to share that with everybody else. My job is to count the votes, and I think until people are comfortable with the product, they’re not gonna commit to voting for it, and that’s what I think our goal should be, is to get it passed,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) said. “So I welcome their contribution, but it’s not gonna be something that’s agreed to by just a handful of people.”
Details of the agreement are scant. But senators have considered effectively nixing the visa lottery and reallocating those visas to a separate program being terminated by the Trump administration aiding immigrants from countries facing natural disasters or civil strife. Countries affected so far by Trump’s ending of Temporary Protected Status include El Salvador, Nicaragua, Haiti and Sudan.
To address conservative concerns about “chain migration,” the senators are proposing that undocumented parents who brought a child to the United States illegally would not be able to access a pathway to citizenship based on being sponsored by their children, Flake said. But the parents of Dreamers would be able to obtain a three-year provisional legal status that could be renewed, according to the Arizona senator.
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