McCain, Coons To Intro Bill With DACA Path To Citizenship, No Wall Funding

WASHINGTON, DC - Senator John McCain speaks to journalists after Senate party caucus luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC Tuesday October 31, 2017. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
The Washington Post/The Washington Post

Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE) are planning to introduce bipartisan legislation this week that would include a path to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, but stops short of offering any funding for President Donald Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The proposal would provide eventual legal status for young immigrants who have lived in the U.S. since Dec. 31, 2013. It would also direct the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a study of what border security measures need to be taken, with the goal of having a comprehensive strategy in place by 2020. It would also provide funding for improved coordination between border patrol agents and local police, but no funding for a physical wall, according to the Journal.

The narrow immigration bill is designed to end the impasse over a two-year budget deal. The topic of immigration was thrown into spending bill debates after Trump announced last year that he was ending the DACA program, which protects undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children. Former President Obama first implemented the DACA program.

To end the government shutdown last month, Congress passed a short-term spending bill that’s set to expire again on Friday. Democrats agreed to the short-term bill in exchange for a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to Democrats that he would bring an immigration bill to the Senate floor by Feb. 8.

The McCain-Coons proposal will likely prompt little enthusiasm from the White House. Trump’s plan, unveiled last month, provides a path to citizenship for about 1.8 undocumented immigrants, but also asks Congress for $25 billion for the border wall and cuts back on legal lottery and family-based immigration systems.