Senators introduce three-year DACA, border security deal

Senators introduce three-year DACA, border security deal
© Greg Nash

Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeRepublican former Michigan governor says he's voting for Biden Maybe they just don't like cowboys: The president is successful, some just don't like his style Bush endorsing Biden? Don't hold your breath MORE (R-Ariz.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampCentrists, progressives rally around Harris pick for VP 70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama MORE (D-N.D.) are pairing a short-term fix for a key Obama-era immigration program with three years of border security funding.

The two introduced legislation Tuesday that includes a three-year extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with $7.6 billion for the Trump administration's border plan.

"I’ll be the first to admit this ‘three-for-three’ approach is far from a perfect solution, but it would provide a temporary fix by beginning the process of improving border security and ensuring DACA recipients will not face potential deportation,” Flake said in a statement.

Heitkamp added that "this is a bipartisan path forward that would fund significant security improvements at our borders and allow Congress to continue to work toward a long-term solution for Dreamers."

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The legislation comes after the Senate rejected three immigration proposals that would have included permanent protections for 1.8 million immigrants brought into the country illegally as children.

Senators are eyeing a short-term fix, potentially dropping the provision into next month's government funding bill, after months of negotiations have failed to break an entrenched stalemate.

Several GOP senators said this week that the most likely path in the Senate would be a years-long provision included in the omnibus, which has to pass by March 24 in order to prevent a shutdown.

"I have a feeling what we may see on this is ... a DACA fix and some border security, a much smaller package, that will be attached to the March 22 spending bill. If I was guessing what was going to happen, I think that's what may happen," Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoGOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg acknowledges failure to take down Kenosha military group despite warnings | Election officials push back against concerns over mail-in voting, drop boxes Bipartisan senators call for investigation of popular fertility app MORE (R-W.Va.), told WRNR, a West Virginia radio station.

Any proposal, either as a stand-alone bill or the mammoth spending bill, would need 60 votes to ultimately clear the chamber.

But it remains unclear if Democrats would embrace a short-term fix that would allow Trump to build part of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Democratic aides are privately skeptical about accepting a temporary DACA fix in exchange for what would be permanent sections of the wall.

GOP Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThunePowell warns failure to reach COVID-19 deal could 'scar and damage' economy Senate Republicans signal openness to working with Biden Democrats scramble on COVID-19 relief amid division, Trump surprise MORE (S.D.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanRomney undecided on authorizing subpoenas for GOP Obama-era probes Congress needs to prioritize government digital service delivery House passes B bill to boost Postal Service MORE (Ohio) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranLobbying world This World Suicide Prevention Day, let's recommit to protecting the lives of our veterans Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg acknowledges failure to take down Kenosha military group despite warnings | Election officials push back against concerns over mail-in voting, drop boxes MORE (Kan.) have also put forward a proposal that would attach legal protections to current DACA recipients to a $25 billion border wall trust fund.

The Trump administration announced last year that it was ending the DACA program, which allows immigrants brought into the country as children to work and go to school without fear of deportation.

Congress initially had a March 5 deadline to pass a fix, but two court decisions have thrown that timeline into limbo.

The Supreme Court, this week, rejected the Trump administration's request to leapfrog over an appeals court and hear their request to overturn an injunction requiring DACA to stay on the books while ligation plays out.