Until today, there were two main immigration reform proposals in the Senate. The first: a proposal by Sen. Grassley, and supported by the White House, to grant amnesty to nearly two million “Dreamers” while (a) allocating $25 billion for a wall and other security measures, (b) cutting way back on chain migration, and (c) ending the diversity lottery. The second: a proposal by Sens. Coons and McCain that would grant the amnesty to even more than two million illegal immigrants and allocate only $3 million towards border security.
Neither bill seemed to have any hope of gaining the 60 votes needed to pass it.
Today, a third proposal emerged. Something called the “Common Sense Coalition” — consisting of some liberal Democrats and some very squishy Republicans — came up with a proposal that grants amnesty for the nearly two million and authorizes $25 billion for southern border security construction projects, but over the course of the next decade, not now.
As for chain migration, the proposal, as I understand it, bars “Dreamers” from sponsoring their parents or enabling hem to receive temporary status. In addition, legal permanent residents would be unable to sponsor their unmarried adult children until they become citizens.
Needless to say, this doesn’t deal with what conservatives mean when they complain about chain migration.
Nor does it deal effectively with border security. If we need a wall — and we’ll need one more than ever after a mass grant of amnesty — construction over a ten year period won’t cut it.
And can we be confident that the $25 billion will actually be spent? I’m not. I assume at some time between now and 2028, open-borders Democrat will gain the political clout necessary to stop construction.
Furthermore, the diversity lottery isn’t addressed at all.
To make matters worse, the proposed legislation audaciously sets priorities for immigration enforcement. It prioritizes people convicted of crimes and those who pose a threat to national security. But when it comes to people only guilty of “unlawful presence,” it calls on immigration officers to focus on those who arrived after June 30, 2018.
Readers will note (though I wonder whether all of the Republican sponsors have) that June 30, 2018 is months away. Thus, this legislation invites aliens to enter the U.S. illegally for the next four months by effectively assuring them they won’t be removed.
In sum, this bill is a travesty.
But what about the politics of the proposal? Can it get 60 votes in the Senate? Can it pass the House? Would President Trump sign it?
Let’s start with the easy question. If the Senate passes this proposal, I’m pretty sure the House will too. Speaker Ryan would love to help enact amnesty legislation, and in the House the votes exist to do it — all House Democrats plus a sufficient number of pro-amnesty Republicans like Ryan.
What about the Senate? All Democrats can be expected to support the proposal (which should tell you all you need to know about its lack of merit). In addition, it has eight Republican sponsors — Sens. Susan Collins, Mike Rounds, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, Cory Gardner, Lamar Alexander, and Johnny Isakson. If John McCain is able to show up for a vote, that would make nine. Only two more GOP votes would be needed.
Would President Trump veto the the bill? It’s clear from the statement the White House issued today that he opposes the approach the Common Sense Coalition proposal takes.
Would this translate into a veto? I think so, but can’t say for sure. I can say that if the Coalition legislation becomes law, it will only be a matter of time before even some of Trump’s ardent supporters conclude they have been sold out on his signature issue. The political consequences could be devastating.
I’m told that Mitch McConnell has filed for cloture on four immigration amendments: the Grassley-White House framework; Coons-McCain; the Common Sense Coalition travesty, and a bill by Sen. Toomey to curb sanctuary cities. Thus, all four measures could be voted on tomorrow or Friday.
Only the travesty has a chance to pass. That chance seems not inconsiderable.
It seems like a good idea to contact Republican Senators, especially those whose votes might get the travesty legislation to 60 — e.g., Thom Tillis (202-224-6342 or www.tillis.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-me). In addition, it might be worth contacting Senators like Mike Rounds (202-224-5842 or www.rounds.senate.gov/contact/email-mike) and asking them WTF.