WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders announced Wednesday that the Trump administration will release an immigration package for Congress on Monday that would provide a solution for “dreamers,” secure the southern U.S. border and end some programs that allow family members and certain others to move to the U.S.
Sanders said the plan “represents a compromise that members of both parties can support.”
Immigration was the central issue in the three-day government shutdown that ended Monday when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised Senate Democrats that the Senate will address the status of the 800,000 young people, called “dreamers,” who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children. McConnell said the program that provided temporary visas to the “dreamers,” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also would be addressed in the Senate before Feb. 8, the endpoint for the spending bill that reopened the government.
“This framework will fulfill the four agreed upon pillars: securing the border and closing legal loopholes, ending extended family chain migration, cancelling the visa lottery, and providing a permanent solution on DACA,” Sanders said.
Sanders did not offer specific details about how the legislation would address the four issues.
President Donald Trump rejected a bipartisan immigration bill presented to him on Jan. 11 by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., that addressed all four issues. Graham accused Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior policy advisor, of derailing the agreement. Senators of both parties had hoped that bill could be passed to get Democratic support of the temporary funding bill. Democrats stood firm for three days against the short-term spending bill because it didn’t include “dreamer” protections, but finally decided it was better politically to end the shutdown, even without GOP immigration concessions.
It is not clear whether the new legislative package will be palatable for both the House and the Senate.
“The framework that you see on Monday will be born out of a lot of those conversations that we’ve had with a number of members, both Republicans, Democrats, House and Senate,” Sanders said.
But House Majority Whip Steve Scalise said Tuesday that the timeline for an immigration agreement in the House is March, when protections granted by DACA run out. Scalise told a group of reporters that the House “wasn’t a part of the deal” that McConnell made with Senate Democrats. He said a bill that offers amnesty for dreamers as something that would “anger the base.”
With no DACA agreement coming out of the shutdown, it’s the Democratic base that has been expressing frustration this week. Protests broke out in front of the Capitol Tuesday, where activists and dreamers expressed their disappointment in their elected officials, and Twitter users have blasted members of the Senate who changed their votes without a DACA guarantee.