Bipartisan group reaches deal on immigration reform


By Ed O’Keefe, David Nakamura and Mike Debonis | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of senators reached a deal on immigration Wednesday as President Donald Trump attempted to preemptively undercut the proposal by delivering an ultimatum: Pass my plan or risk a veto.

The self-dubbed “Common Sense Caucus” of bipartisan senators late Wednesday circulated legislation that would fulfill Trump’s calls to grant legal status to 1.8 million immigrants, and would authorize $25 billion for southern border security construction projects over the next decade – not immediately, as Trump wants. The bill also would curb family-based immigration programs, but not to the extent Trump is seeking and does not end a diversity visa lottery program that he wants eliminated.

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Word of an agreement came as formal debate on immigration policy has mostly sputtered this week – a stalemate that has underscored the politically fraught nature of the showdown that is further complicated by GOP leaders’ insistence that the Senate act by week’s end.

A growing sense of diminishing urgency also set in as top leaders signaled that ongoing court challenges may give Congress more time than Trump’s deadline of March 5 to replace an Obama-era program shielding hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation.

In a White House statement, Trump urged the Senate to back a proposal unveiled this week by a GOP group led by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, saying it accomplishes his vision for immigration. At the same time, the president rejected any limited approach that deals only with “dreamers” – immigrants who have been in the country illegally since they were children – and border security.

His full-throated demand was released by the White House just minutes before a group of Democrats and Republicans gathered to negotiate an agreement.

Democrats were gauging support for the plan in their caucus late Wednesday, with the realization that Trump may reject it.

“He created this problem, and he’s making it clear today he has no intention of solving it,” complained Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a leader of the bipartisan group, was more hopeful. “I know that the president wants a result, and my experience in the Senate is that you’re more likely to be able to get a result when you have a bipartisan …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

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