The 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework
President Trump’s immigration framework faced an unexpected opponent this week as it crashed on the Senate floor: Republicans.
The opposition from more than a fourth of the GOP conference came despite an intense pressure campaign by the White House and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which shot down back-to-back bipartisan offers.
In the end, 14 GOP senators rejected Trump’s proposal, helping make it the least popular of the Senate’s competing measures.
Here’s a look at the GOP senators who bucked Trump.
Sen. John Barrasso (Wyo.)
Barrasso, who is up for reelection in 2018, was one of two members of GOP leadership to oppose Trump’s plan. His vote came roughly a day after he called the White House framework “very generous.”
“I want to make sure that we have a secure border. I want to make sure that the laws are enforced and I want to make sure our citizens are safe,” he told Fox News this week.
A spokeswoman for Barrasso didn’t respond to a request for comment. But the conservative senator has said he believes the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was illegal.
Sen. Susan Collins (Maine)
Collins was at the center of a bipartisan group that negotiated for months to come up with a rival plan to Trump’s. Hours before the votes, DHS warned that the proposal would undermine the rule of law and the White House threatened to veto the Common Sense Coalition’s plan.
“I’m personally very disappointed in the administration’s response,” Collins said.
The bipartisan group’s amendment has serious policy differences from the White House plan.
It doesn’t touch the State Department’s diversity visa lottery program and included narrow changes to family-based immigration that would have been limited to DACA recipients.
Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas)
Cruz, who is up for reelection in 2018, repeatedly took shots at the framework because it included a path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants, which he considers “amnesty.”
“I find myself flabbergasted at where my own party is in this debate because every proposal that has Republican support that has been submitted begins from a place markedly to the left of President Obama,” Cruz said ahead of the Senate’s votes.
Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.)
Daines doesn’t support the DACA program and has said he doesn’t want to see it extended.
“I don’t support extending the DACA program. This was an unconstitutional act that President Obama [did] via executive order when he was president and I hope that we can find a solution going forward here that is broader than just the issue on DACA,” he told Montana Public Radio earlier this year.
Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo.)
A spokesman for Enzi said he opposed the immigration amendments offered “because he felt they did not properly address” illegal immigration.
“He has said that Congress needs to ensure that our immigration laws are compassionate, especially to children, but also fair to American citizens. He believes there are lawful ways for individuals to earn citizenship and that people who want to come to this country need to follow them,” the spokesman said.
Enzi, who previously called DACA “unconstitutional,” also thinks immigration reform is “best dealt with in small pieces, instead of comprehensive legislation,” his aide said.
Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.)
Flake was heavily involved with the bipartisan immigration negotiations and has been one of the loudest critics of the White House’s framework over concerns about its restrictions on legal immigration.
He told reporters this week that while the White House’s framework should be part of the “discussion,” the Senate needed to work out its own plan.
And he’s doubling down on his short-term patch following the Senate’s failed votes, which would pair a three-year DACA extension with border security funding.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (Okla.)
Inhofe opposed each of the Senate’s three immigration plans, while backing a push to limit federal funding to “sanctuary cities.” He said the White House plan “made a number of important reforms” including boosting security at the border and limiting family-based immigration.
“[But] I’ve consistently stated that I could not support an immigration bill that puts illegal immigrants ahead of the men and women who have followed our laws and have applied for citizenship legally,” he said.
The White House framework, spearheaded in the Senate by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), created a 10-12 year path to citizenship for roughly 1.8 million immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.
Sen. John Kennedy (La.)
Kennedy said on Twitter that he opposed the Senate’s immigration proposals “because none of them prioritized border security.”
Both the White House framework and the bipartisan coalition’s plan included $25 billion in border security.
Kennedy supported Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-Pa.) amendment to limit funding to jurisdictions that don’t follow federal immigration law.
He also offered several of his own amendments, which didn’t get a vote, including requiring the census to include questions about nationality and immigration status.
Sen. Mike Lee (Utah)
Lee said after the Senate’s votes that Congress needs a “balanced approach to the DACA program.”
“One that discourages future illegal immigration while also offering a compassionate solution to current DACA recipients. None of the plans that addressed DACA today achieved that balance,” he added.
Many conservative lawmakers, as well as their allies off Capitol Hill, balked over the administration’s decision to extend citizenship to DACA recipients and expand the total number of immigrants potentially covered from roughly 700,000 to 1.8 million.
Sen. Jerry Moran (Kansas)
Asked why Moran didn’t back the president’s plan, a spokesman noted the GOP senator supports a fallback option he is working on with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and John Thune (R-S.D.).
Their plan is significantly narrower than the White House framework. It provides a permanent extension of legal status, but not citizenship, only for current DACA recipients. It is tied to a $25 billion border security trust fund.
Moran noted in a statement announcing the immigration plan that the measures “must not inadvertently encourage further illegal immigration.”
He didn’t directly address the White House framework, but some conservatives argue that extending legal protections to the broader 1.8 million population encourages more illegal immigration.
The Moran-Thune-Portman proposal, by comparison, would limit legal protections to current DACA recipients, or roughly 700,000 immigrants.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Murkowski, one of the Senate’s most moderate Republicans, was part of the Common Sense Coalition and supported the group’s plan to pair a path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants to $25 billion in border security and limited changes to family-based immigration.
She added after the plan failed that it would have offered a “path forward.” “I am extremely disappointed that the Senate failed to advance our bipartisan proposal that provided both certainty for the Dreamers and critical improvements to border security,” she said.
Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.)
Paul voted against each of the Senate’s immigration proposals, including the White House plan.
His votes came after he told Fox News host Laura Ingraham this week that he was debating offering a conservative House plan crafted by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) as an amendment.
“We’re discussing that in our office, whether or not we ought to put that forward as an alternative,” he said.
Goodlatte’s plan would provide DACA recipients with a temporary, renewable legal status — rather than citizenship — in exchange for authorizing funding for Trump’s border wall, ending family-based migration and scrapping the diversity visa lottery program.
It would also crack down on so-called sanctuary cities, boost penalties for deported criminals who try to re-enter the U.S. and require that employers use an electronic verification system known as E-Verify to make sure they hire legal workers.
Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.)
Sasse told the Lincoln Journal Star that he opposed “left-of-center proposals” taken up by the Senate on Thursday.
“I ran as a conservative and I’ll vote as a conservative,” he said.
Sasse added there could still be a path toward a “much simpler legislative package” that pairs protections for DACA recipients and secures the border.
Sen. John Thune (S.D.)
Thune is the highest ranking GOP senator to vote against the White House’s immigration proposal.
The No. 3 GOP senator has endorsed a narrower solution for weeks. On Thursday afternoon he announced that he, Moran and Portman had filed an amendment that would extend the legal protections of current DACA recipients while giving the White House money for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“Immigration policy is not easy, as this week has shown, but I’m confident that with a bill like the one we’ve just put forward, we’ll be able to find consensus among Republicans and Democrats,” he said in a statement.