WASHINGTON—As immigration talks heat up on the hill again, Trump has thrown his support behind a bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
“I am asking all senators, in both parties, to support the Grassley bill and to oppose any legislation that fails to fulfill these four pillars—that includes opposing any short-term ‘Band-Aid” approach,’” Trump said in a statement on Feb. 14.
A draft of the “Secure and Succeed Act” was released on Feb. 11 and subsequently updated in preparation to hit the Senate floor on Feb. 14.
The bill addresses Trump’s four immigration priorities, including securing the border and closing legal loopholes, ending chain migration in favor of a merit-based system, ending the diversity visa lottery, and giving amnesty to 1.8 million illegal aliens, including recipients in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The bill details the needs of each border sector, north and south, which need to be in place by 2022. A fund of $25 billion is requested for border security measures include fencing, drones, lighting, sensors, communications, increased flight hours, coastal radar surveillance, and more agents.
The bill is sponsored by Senators Grassley, John Cornyn (R-Texas), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).
Trump also said he was “encouraged” with the legislation gaining momentum in the House by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).
Former President Barack Obama introduced DACA in 2012 by executive order after legislation giving amnesty failed to pass in Congress.
In September last year, the Trump administration signaled a phase-out of DACA, giving Congress six months to come up with a permanent solution. Two judges have since ruled that Trump cannot end DACA on March 5, and the program remains in place for now. The Supreme Court will decide on Feb. 16 whether to hear the government’s appeal of the first of these rulings.
Department of Justice spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement on Feb. 14 that DACA was implemented unilaterally and was an unlawful circumvention of Congress.
“The Department of Homeland Security therefore acted within its lawful authority in deciding to wind down DACA in an orderly manner,” O’Malley said, adding that the Justice Department “looks forward to vindicating its position in further litigation.”
Trump said he has turned his focus to “responsible and commonsense immigration reform” now that the military is fully funded.
Negotiations on DACA have begun. Republicans want to make a deal and Democrats say they want to make a deal. Wouldn’t it be great if we could finally, after so many years, solve the DACA puzzle. This will be our last chance, there will never be another opportunity! March 5th.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 13, 2018