New GOP Immigration Bill Would Bar Family Separation, Protect DREAMers

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call Group

A new immigration bill crafted by GOP leadership would bar the Trump administration’s current forced separation of parents and children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border and give legal status to undocumented immigrants brought here as children in exchange for a big down payment on Trump’s proposed border wall.

The bill, whose contours were shared with rank-and-file Republicans on Thursday, would let most of the 1.8 million DREAMERs remain in the U.S. and work legally on six-year renewable visas, with an eventual path to citizenship.

It would also provide $25 billion for border security measures including funding for Trump’s long-demanded border wall.

And it would bar the administration’s highly controversial and cruel separation of asylum-seeking parents from their children when they cross the U.S. border that the Trump administration began in recent weeks.

The deal was struck after moderate Republicans came up just short of forcing a vote on a clean DREAM Act, partnering with Democrats, and is largely based on the “four pillars” of immigration reform the White House has demanded be included. And it tilts closer to conservatives’ vision of how the law should be than what moderates had initially wanted.

The bill would also restructure the current visa system to emphasize education and employment over family reunification and diversity, priorities long pushed by conservatives and championed by Trump.

The House is scheduled to vote on this bill next week, along with a more conservative one authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

It’s unclear if this bill can even pass the House, since most Democrats will likely oppose it, let alone get Senate approval and support from the White House. But it’s the closest that Congress has come to actually acting to help DREAMers after Trump moved to end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program more than a year ago.

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