The Senate today rejected the immigration bill proposed by the “Common Sense Coalition” that I described last night. It would have granted amnesty for almost two million “Dreamers” in exchange for watered down border security provisions and nothing on the immigration reform front. The vote to take up the bill was 54-45 (with Sen. McCain unable to vote) — six votes short of the required 60.
In reality, it was a closer call than that. Three Democrats were prepared to vote in favor if their vote would have made the difference. Only when it became clear that the bill would come up a little short did they vote against it.
These three “profiles in courage” were Kamala Harris, Martin Heinrich, and Tom Udall.
Harris seems like a worthy successor to Barack Obama. But at least she didn’t try to vote “present.”
President Trump’s opposition was the key to defeating “centrist” amnesty. He warned he would veto the bill, saying it “would undermine the safety and security of American families and impede economic growth for American workers” and result in “a flood of new illegal immigration in the coming months.”
Sen. Bob Corker also played a role in the bill’s demise. His announcement that he would vote no seemed to halt its momentum. Some view his vote as a sign he’s reconsidering his decision to step down from the Senate. A yes vote would have hurt of his chance of winning the nomination if he decides to run.
The Senate also defeated the Coons-McCain version of amnesty. The vote was 52-47.
This leaves only Sen. Grassley’s bill, which the White House backs. It too will fail. [UPDATE: It has by a vote of 39-60.]
Thus, the March 5 deadline for granting DACA relief will expire with no legislative “fix.” However, our robed masters in the federal judiciary have barred the administration, for now, from rescinding for former president Obama’s DACA order. So the deadline wasn’t really a deadline after all.
To me, only two legislative fixes make sense: (1) amnesty for the DACA population in exchange for full and immediate funding for the wall plus additional strong border security measures or (2) amnesty for the DACA/Dreamer population in exchange for full wall funding/border security, plus real immigration reform — i.e. severely restricting chain migration and ending the diversity lottery. The second fix is the one Grassley proposed with Trump’s backing — the one that was roundly defeated today. [Note: Grassley’s proposal included not just amnesty but a path to citizenship. I do not favor a path to citizenship].
Absent one of these two fixes, there should be no amnesty because such amnesty will spur lots more illegal immigration, and the seemingly endless cycle of the past 30-plus years will continue.