Senators introduce three-year DACA, border security deal

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

Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSchumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Trump keeps tight grip on GOP McSally to back Trump on emergency declaration MORE (R-Ariz.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampRed dresses displayed around American Indian museum to memorialize missing, murdered native women Lobbying World Lobbying World 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 CapitoPence, GOP senators discuss offer to kill Trump emergency disapproval resolution Bipartisan think tank to honor lawmakers who offer 'a positive tenor' Trump tries to win votes in Senate fight 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 ThuneCongress should take action to stop unfair taxation of the digital economy The fear of colorectal cancer as a springboard for change Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law MORE (S.D.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTrump faces political risks in fight over GM plant GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers The 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration MORE (Ohio) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranThe 25 Republicans who defied Trump on emergency declaration Overnight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget 12 Republican senators defy Trump on emergency declaration  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.