Congress Drops the Ball on Immigration

Regarding the Feb. 16 front-page article “Relief for ‘dreamers’ no nearer as bills fail”:

I worry that Congress will not pass legislation to protect the “dreamers.” When President Trump originally declined to endorse the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, leaving it to Congress to protect them, I was cynical enough to feel that he knew that Congress would not pass anything. Having earlier agreed to a bipartisan “deal,” he now sets out his “four pillars” — requirements for passage. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) appears to have taken the unconscionable stand that he can’t pass anything that Mr. Trump won’t sign.

I say that Mr. McConnell should have the courage to pass something that Mr. Trump might veto. Such a veto would confer ownership of the issue to Mr. Trump. Failure to pass this legislation that has broad public support will turn out very badly for Republicans in the 2018 elections.

On Feb. 15, the Republican-controlled Senate failed to gain the 60 votes required to pass three proposals addressing Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and border security. Predictably, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blamed Democrats.

The proposals by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and the “Common Sense Coalition” were nonpartisan. The proposal from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), however, was a blatantly and unabashedly partisan proposal supported by Mr. McConnell that mirrored White House wishes and had little or no hope of passing.

The McCain-Coons proposal failed 52 to 47, receiving just four Republican “yes” votes but only one Democratic “no” vote. The Common Sense Coalition proposal failed 54 to 45, supported by only eight Republicans but opposed by only three Democrats.

However, bipartisanship remained alive that day. The Grassley proposal suffered a dismal, 60-to-39 thrashing, lacking a hefty 21 votes to reach 60. Democrats and 14 Republicans opposed the proposal. Only three Democrats voted for it. Mr. McConnell and Mr. Grassley surely knew this proposal was dead on arrival.

By Letters of the Editor for THE WASHINGTON POST
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