Senators introduce three-year DACA, border security deal

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

Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSchumer recruiting top-notch candidate for McCain Senate seat The Hill's Morning Report — Trump eyes wall money options as shutdown hits 21 days Poll: Sanders most popular senator, Flake least MORE (R-Ariz.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction Gary Cohn criticizes the shutdown: 'Completely wrong' EPA's Wheeler faces grilling over rule rollbacks 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."


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 CapitoOvernight Energy: Wheeler weathers climate criticism at confirmation hearing | Dems want Interior to stop drilling work during shutdown | 2018 was hottest year for oceans Dems blast EPA nominee at confirmation hearing Republican senators skeptical of using national emergency for wall funding 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 ThuneRove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Leaders nix recess with no shutdown deal in sight Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions MORE (S.D.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanUSDA to recall more than 9,000 furloughed workers to provide farm aid Senate Dem introduces 'Stop Stupidity' act to end government shutdowns Senators look for possible way to end shutdown MORE (Ohio) and Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOn The Money: Shutdown Day 26 | Pelosi calls on Trump to delay State of the Union | Cites 'security concerns' | DHS chief says they can handle security | Waters lays out agenda | Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Senate rejects effort to block Trump on Russia sanctions Overnight Defense: Trump faces blowback over report he discussed leaving NATO | Pentagon extends mission on border | Senate advances measure bucking Trump on Russia sanctions 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.