The anticlimactic failure of U.S. immigration legislation last week sent senators scrambling for fallback options to avoid the deportation of young people who arrived in the country as children.
But amid upcoming fiscal deadlines, congressional election campaigns and a stubborn stalemate over legal immigration restrictions, none of the plans so far are enticing either side as the clock ticks toward expiration of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that President Donald Trump has ordered to an end.
“What I expect is that DACA is going to expire and people will start losing their work permits,” said Mark Krikorian, who runs the Center For Immigration Studies, a group that seeks to cut immigration levels to the U.S. “There’ll be a non-zero number of DACAs taken into custody and removed. So we’ll have to see how that plays out politically.”
The courts have put Trump’s March 5 cutoff deadline on hold and a verdict may be pushed to June if the Supreme Court accepts the case on an expedited basis. That’s prompted another flurry of proposals in the Senate, none of which have any clear path to move forward.
Republican Sens. John Thune of South Dakota, Rob Portman of Ohio and Jerry Moran of Kansas proposed to give dreamers legal status without citizenship alongside $25 billion for border security, while Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., suggested extending their work permits for three years.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 GOP leader, said a potential vehicle for a DACA solution looms in the form of a massive 2018 fiscal year spending bill that must clear Congress by March 23 to avert a third government shutdown this year.
“I’d rather have a permanent bill, but if we can’t do that maybe we’ll do something shorter,” he said. “I don’t see it getting dedicated floor time, if there can be some negotiation leading up to the omnibus perhaps there can be some temporary provision, which to me is not great but that’s kinda where we are.”
In the House, meanwhile, Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., has refused to consider any legislation that doesn’t have Trump’s full backing and has made no commitment to bring any plan up for a vote.
A creeping fatalism is setting in among some Democrats.
By Laura Litvan for THE DENVER POST
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