Senators introduce three-year DACA, border security deal

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

Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (R-Ariz.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill 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 CapitoBiden's soft touch with Manchin, Sinema frustrates Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit Here are the 11 GOP senators who helped advance the debt extension 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 ThuneGOP rallies around Manchin, Sinema McConnell gets GOP wake-up call Democrat on controversial Schumer speech: Timing 'may not have been the best' MORE (S.D.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell gets GOP wake-up call Biden shows little progress with Abraham Accords on first anniversary The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (Ohio) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranStar gymnasts call on Congress to dissolve US Olympics board Expats plead with US to deliver COVID-19 vaccines Biden sidesteps GOP on judicial vacancies, for now 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.