Senate

Key Democrat: ‘Naive’ to think DACA will pass without border security

Greg Nash

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) predicted on Tuesday that a fix for some undocumented immigrants would have to be attached to increased border security despite frustration from some House Democrats and outside groups about linking the two. 

“It is naive for us to believe we would get 12 Republicans to vote for DACA or DREAM Act without putting something on the table,” he told reporters when asked about frustration among some activists. 

Democrats have 48 seats, including Independent Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Angus King (Maine), who caucus with them. To get legislation over a 60-vote procedural threshold they would need the support of at least 12 Republicans.

{mosads}Pressed on if his party risked losing approval from outside groups or undocumented immigrants impacted by the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, he said getting a deal to protect undocumented immigrations brought into the country as children would be a “good outcome.” 

“There’s always going to be a group that wants more. There’s some people that want all or nothing. You know, I consider this to be a world of reality,” Durbin added. 

The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, similar to DACA, would allow people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to continue to live and work freely in the country.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said last week that they had agreed with President Trump to attach a legislative fix to DACA to a border security package — though they still needed to hammer out the details. 

Schumer added on Tuesday that he is “very optimistic” that Democrats will still be able to get a “good deal” on a DACA fix paired with border security. 

The outline of a potential agreement was widely paned by Hispanic leaders off and on Capitol Hill, who were already frustrated that Democratic leadership didn’t get a DACA fix included in a three-month spending and debt deal.  

Durbin added that as part of the talks Democrats have ruled certain things as “off the table,” including funding for a border wall and targeting cities that don’t comply with federal immigration laws. 

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans quickly tried to slow down a potential deal between Democrats and Trump, noting they would want to weigh in and introduce their own proposals. 

Durbin was asked about a potential immigration bill from Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), but noted that he hadn’t seen the bill. 

“No one has seen the Tillis — anybody else seen the Tillis bill?” Durbin asked a group of reporters. “There’s no bill introduced by Senator Tillis. People keep saying what do you think of the Tillis bill. …If Senator Tillis has a bill we’ll look at it.” 

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Thursday that he and Tillis are working on a DACA-fix that would be an alternative to the DREAM Act.

Tags Angus King Bernie Sanders Charles Schumer Dick Durbin Thom Tillis

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