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The Latest: Senate Rejects Immigration Proposals

by Countable | 2.15.18

The Senate considered four immigration reform proposals in the hope of finding an agreement to provide legal status for DACA recipients and secure the border, but all four proposals failed to get the support they needed.

We've been tracking events throughout the week below, so read on and get caught up. We will continue to update this post if there are any further developments.

Thursday

All Four Proposals Rejected: All four immigration reform proposals considered by the Senate failed to get the 60 votes they needed to advance.

It's unclear what the Senate's next steps on the issue will be, as it has adjourned without scheduling time to consider other proposals. Both chambers of Congress are expected to be out of session next week for President's Day ― leaving lawmakers with only a few legislative days in which to act prior to the expiration of DACA on March 5.

Sen. Pat Toomey's (R-PA) sanctuary cities proposal got the backing of 55 senators, including four Democrats ― Sens. Joe Manchin (WV), Claire McCaskill (MO), Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Joe Donnelly (IN).

The bipartisan immigration reform proposal introduced by Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Angus King (I-ME) had the support of 54 senators. Eight Republicans supported the bill ― including Sens. Lamar Alexander (TN), Susan Collins (ME), Jeff Flake (AZ), Cory Gardner (CO), Lindsey Graham (SC), Johnny Isakson (GA), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Rounds. Three Democrats opposed it, including Sens. Kamala Harris (CA), Martin Heinrich (NM), and Mark Udall (NM).

Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R-IA) proposal which included the Trump administration's "four pillars" immigration reform plan received only 40 votes.

Votes Happening: The Senate is going to vote at 2:30pm ET to limit debate on four immigration proposals offered as amendments. Here are the four amendments in the order they'll receive votes, all of which require 60 votes to be considered:

  • Coons-McCain "Uniting and Securing America Act" (#1955): This amendment offered by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and John McCain (R-AZ) would grant legal status to all of the 3.2 million "Dreamers" who have been in the country since 2013 and require the Dept. of Homeland Security to submit a comprehensive border security strategy within one year. It would not provide funding for improved border security, address the issue of family-based "chain" migration, or eliminate the diversity visa lottery. Failed 52-47. 2/15 3:03pm ET

  • Toomey "Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act" (#1948): This amendment offered by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) would block economic and community development grants to sanctuary jurisdictions ― which are states and municipalities that don't comply with immigration detainer requests from federal immigration authorities. Failed 55-44. 2/15 3:24pm ET

  • Schumer "Immigration Security and Opportunity Act (#1958 as modified): This amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for a group of bipartisan senators including Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Angus King (I-ME) would provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA recipients over 12 years while prohibiting them from sponsoring parents who assisted a child in illegally entering the country from citizenship; authorize and appropriate $25 billion for 10 years of border security measures which would be subject to annual reporting requirements and funding from Congress which could be blocked with 60 votes. It would also direct Homeland Security to prioritize enforcement measures against unauthorized immigrants who have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors; are a threat to national security or public safety; or are unlawfully present and arrived in the U.S. after June 30, 2018. Failed 54-45. 2/15 3:44pm

  • Grassley "Secure and Succeed Act" (#1959): This amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) would provide a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA recipients over 12 years; establish a $25 billion border security trust fund for 10 years; strengthen immigration enforcement measures and provide for additional CBP/ICE personnel; eliminate the diversity visa lottery and reallocate those 55,000 visas; limit chain migration to the nuclear family by only permitting family-based visas for spouses and children under 18 years of age. Failed 40-59. 2/15 4:04pm ET

Senate Returns to Honor Shooting Victims: The Senate convened this morning and will hold a moment of silence at noon ET to pay tribute to the victims of the tragedy in Parkland, FL.

The rest of the Senate's schedule for today is yet to be announced, as no votes on amendments have been scheduled yet.

Wednesday

Senate Ends Its Day: The Senate adjourned after 7pm ET without taking any votes, but there is some more clarity about how the debate will move forward.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced four cloture motions ― which require 60 votes and are used to limit further debate ― for amendments which could get a vote as early as Thursday. That would require the Senate unanimously agreeing to waive the rule that requires cloture motions to "ripen" for one day, absent that the earliest they could be voted on is Friday morning.

Here are the four amendments in the order they'd receive votes:

  • Coons-McCain "Uniting and Securing America Act" (#1955): This amendment offered by Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and John McCain (R-AZ) would grant legal status to all of the 3.2 million "Dreamers" who have been in the country since 2013 and require the Dept. of Homeland Security to submit a comprehensive border security strategy within one year. It would not provide funding for improved border security, address the issue of family-based "chain" migration, or eliminate the diversity visa lottery.

  • Toomey "Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act" (#1948): This amendment offered by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) would block economic and community development grants to sanctuary jurisdictions ― which are states and municipalities that don't comply with immigration detainer requests from federal immigration authorities.

  • Schumer "Immigration Security and Opportunity Act (#1958 as modified): This amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for a group of bipartisan senators including Sens. Mike Rounds (R-SD) and Angus King (I-ME) would provide a path to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA recipients over 12 years while prohibiting them from sponsoring parents who assisted a child in illegally entering the country from citizenship; authorize and appropriate $25 billion for 10 years of border security measures which would be subject to annual reporting requirements and funding from Congress which could be blocked with 60 votes. It would also direct Homeland Security to prioritize enforcement measures against unauthorized immigrants who have been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors; are a threat to national security or public safety; or are unlawfully present and arrived in the U.S. after June 30, 2018.

  • Grassley "Secure and Succeed Act" (#1959): This amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) would provide a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million DACA recipients over 12 years; establish a $25 billion border security trust fund for 10 years; strengthen immigration enforcement measures and provide for additional CBP/ICE personnel; eliminate the diversity visa lottery and reallocate those 55,000 visas; limit chain migration to the nuclear family by only permitting family-based visas for spouses and children under 18 years of age.

Senate Returns, Starts Debate: After gaveling in for the day, at about 10:30am ET the Senate approved the "motion to proceed" to the immigration bill on a voice vote. This means that the Senate can start calling up amendments for votes, which will need 60 votes to be adopted.

Tuesday

Senate Adjourns After Dems Withhold Consent: Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) again came to the Senate floor to ask for unanimous consent to waive what remains of the 30 hours of post-cloture debate so that they could start considering amendments at 8:00pm ET this evening.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) objected, meaning that the earliest the Senate could consider amendments would be after midnight ET Wednesday morning. Instead, the Senate will reconvene after 10:30am to take a "motion to proceed" vote that requires a simple majority to succeed. If it does, votes on amendments can begin.

McConnell Blocked From Starting Debate: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came to the Senate floor to ask for unanimous consent to waive what remains of the 30 hours of post-cloture debate so that they could start considering amendments at 2:15pm ET this afternoon. The first would've been an amendment offered by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) related to sanctuary cities, followed by an amendment of Democrats' choosing.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) objected, saying the Toomey amendment isn't related to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Senate won't be able to vote on amendments until either Schumer yields back the post-cloture debate time or that time elapses. In the latter case, that could push back the first amendment vote until tomorrow.

Senate Returns: The Senate is in session and in a period of open debate leading up to another procedural vote, which will set the stage for amendments to be considered. That vote is expected this afternoon.

Monday

Senate Adjourns: The Senate has adjourned and will reconvene Tuesday at 10am ET when it will resume the debate. No votes have been scheduled yet.

Senate Starts the Debate: This cloture motion would allow the Senate to bring up a bill for debate that will serve as the legislative vehicle for what is produced through the amendment process. The underlying bill has no immigration-related language, and its text (related to COBRA insurance premiums under the American Health Care Act — which failed to advance) will be replaced in its entirety by the Senate’s amendments. Because it’s a cloture motion on a motion to proceed, this means that the Senate is only limiting initial debate, so another cloture motion will be needed to limit debate before a passage vote occurs. Invoked 97-1. 2/12 6:06pm ET

Tell your senators what you want to see in an immigration reform proposal using the Take Action button then share your thoughts in the comments below!

— Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: drnadig / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(288)
  • Ian
    02/12/2018
    ···

    Before you ask why DREAMers didn’t apply for citizenship, research it. They couldn’t. There’s no path to do so. Sending them “home” to a place where the language and culture are foreign is cruel, and it would take decades to return - if they ever got the opportunity at all. Please try to imagine being deported to Russia or Chile or South Korea — you the reader — with no language or cultural skills. You’d be lucky to get a job flipping burgers. Now try to convince the USA that you, the burger flipping deportee, meet the merit-based requirements for immigration in 10 or 15 years. A shocking number of people in that situation just kill themselves. Perhaps that’s actually what you want? They have no home, most of them are more American than I am (I moved home to the USA at ten after 9 abroad).

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  • BeStrong
    02/13/2018
    ···

    Clean DACA. NO $25,000,000,000 Fence.

    Like (196)
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  • Dara
    02/12/2018
    ···

    Above all else we are people of great compassion. The “Dreamers” are here through no fault of their own. This is the country they know. They go to school, work, and are committed to this country. They are citizens. Give them legal citizenship. They have been living here for decades. Do the right thing Congress.

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  • Jean
    02/13/2018
    ···

    “YES” to more liberal immigration including letting Dreamers stay and become citizens. “NO” to the stupid wall.

    Like (121)
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  • Mark
    02/13/2018
    ···

    How about we DEPORT ALL GOP LAWMAKERS. LETS SEND THEM TO RUSSIA. PUTIN CAN HAVE THEM

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  • Karen
    02/13/2018
    ···

    For you who say no to Dreamers....become an educated adult... please! No fault of these kids... remember that when you find yourself in a situation you could not affect in any way and you are rejected. These Dreamers are productive, enlightened people and we need them!!

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  • OlderNWiser
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Living in California has given me the opportunity to meet many immigrants with and without papers and 99% of them have been so superior to the corruption, ignorance, and selfishness of this Administration that nothing but a clean DACA bill with no wall would satisfy me. What has most impressed me is the solid ethics of so many immigrants whether they be Muslims from Africa or the Middle East, Christians from Ethiopia, Sikhs from India, Buddhists from Asia or Dreamers from Mexico and Latin America whose parents worked three jobs and who also worked harder than most can imagine, I am honored to call them friends,neighbors and Americans.

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  • Scott.in.NY
    02/13/2018
    ···

    Give the dreamers a legal opportunity to become citizens. For those suggesting they are "jumping the line", they have not had a line to get in. The requirements should be the same as any other immigrants. If you have been convicted of a crime, no chance. A lot of these dreamers own businesses and make significant contributions to their community. Why would we not accept them as citizens?

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  • RadicalModerate
    02/13/2018
    ···

    Greedy, spiteful, angry people are running the government. We have to stop them. It starts this November.

    Like (39)
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  • Karen
    02/13/2018
    ···

    Please do what you can to advance immigration discussions especially for the Dreamers. Please! Thank you..

    Like (33)
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  • DrCindyBean
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Must have bi partisan bill. Say no to Grassley. No to trump. No to SASa. We want a clean dream act and no wall.

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  • Abbi
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Do not let America down we need the dreamers as much as they need to stay! They are our families, friends, and neighbors! We cannot lose them! Please vote to protect them!

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  • Dana
    02/13/2018
    ···

    No, Shari, the DACA recipients were not already given a path to citizenship much less it being yanked out from under them. Obama signed an illegal executive order giving them a temporary stay in this country. There was a deadline on his executive order. The deadline was after he would be out of office. Congress had ample time to come up with a permanent solution before Obama was out of office. Trump is just following the law and gave congress 6 months to find a permanent solution. Trump, also, promised the border wall and immigration reform for the outdated laws. Trump is not holding DACA recipients hostage for the wall and much needed extra border security. It’s the Dems holding them hostage because they want open borders which they think gives them more votes. You liberals mistakenly give the Dems credit for caring for DACA recipients. They care only for themselves and ways to keep lining their pockets which translates into votes from illegal immigrants. You liberals also mistakenly believe Trump is racist for following the law instead of just renewing Obama’s illegal executive order. At least Trump is putting Americans first unlike the Dems who put illegal immigrants first for votes. American dreamers should come before illegal dreamers.

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  • Casandra
    02/13/2018
    ···

    We NEED a clean Dream Act. Hundreds of thousands of lives hang in the balance and I will NOT vote for any representative who is against this.

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  • Deneiro
    02/13/2018
    ···

    We need to make sure these dreamers have a pathway to citizenship. They are here at no fault of their own. This is their country!

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  • Patty
    02/15/2018
    ···

    Clean dream act. No wall.

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  • Sheryl
    02/13/2018
    ···

    My senators won’t do anything to protect our borders. I live in a sanctuary state. If they DID listen they’d know that I don’t agree with sanctuary states, refugees, H1-b visas, DACAS, illegal immigrants or chain migration. I would go to a merit-based immigration system.

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  • Rebecca
    02/13/2018
    ···

    Daca for border security. No more/no less. Republicans want more let the blame fall where it should for deporting these American kids, squarely on the president and his minions shoulders. Vote total blue come November

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  • MAGAnificent
    02/13/2018
    ···

    I'm sick of their demands, flag burning, temper tantrums, harassing my family, etc. #NoDACA #NoDREAMER #NoAmnesty #BuildTheWall #MakeItTall If the Dems don't accept this offer I think POTUS should end it and do mass deportation.

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  • Richard
    02/13/2018
    ···

    Pass a clean DACA bill. No border wall unless Mexico pays for it as Trump and Republicans promised . D not you dare attempt to gut Medicare and Social Security as I am getting ready to retire. I don’t think that it will go well for any party that gave huge tax breaks to the rich and then guts the things we paid for and depend on.

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