Senators Propose Immigration Reform Framework
Originally published by: Senator Joni Ernst — February 12, 2018
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A group of U.S. Senators today announced a common-sense proposal aimed at providing legal certainty for undocumented children brought to the United States by their parents and preventing others from falling into the same legal limbo in the future.
Their proposal, which mirrors the White House framework announced by President Trump, provides a generous opportunity for approximately 1.8 million DACA or DACA-eligible immigrants to earn citizenship while strengthening our nation’s border security and enforcement measures to reduce illegal immigration.
The Secure and Succeed Act, sponsored by Senators Cotton, Grassley, Cornyn, Tillis, Perdue, Lankford, and Ernst, appropriates $25 billion for real border security such as physical and virtual fencing, radar and other technologies. It also provides for additional personnel for border control and ends key loopholes in current law that allow dangerous criminals to enter our country.
The legislation prospectively limits family-based immigration to the nuclear family and reallocates the Diversity Visa lottery. Their proposal generously grandfathers all pending family-based visa applications in order to reward those who chose to follow the law and immigrate legally. The allotment for the Diversity Visa lottery will be reallocated to reduce this backlog and the employment-based visa backlog.
“This is the only bill that has a chance of becoming law, and that’s because it’s the only bill that will truly solve the underlying problem. It will protect those eligible for DACA but also make sure we don’t end up back here five years from now. By addressing our border security needs and limiting family sponsorship to the nuclear family, it goes far beyond the other half measures that have been proposed. This bill is generous, humane, and responsible, and now we should send it to the president’s desk,” Tom Cotton said.
“This legislation is a reasonable approach to shielding children illegally brought to our country through no fault of their own while also taking the meaningful steps to ensure nobody finds themselves in the same situation in the future. This is a rare opportunity to fix a real problem and protect the country in a thoughtful and compassionate way. We simply have to correct the loopholes in current law that allow dangerous criminals to enter and remain at large in our country. Our proposal is supported by the President, who’s come a long way to reach a compromise. This is the only Senate proposal that has any chance of passing the House and being signed into law. If my colleagues are serious about actually finding a real and permanent solution to the DACA crisis, they should be ready and willing to support this compromise,” Chuck Grassley said.
“This proposal provides a common-sense, permanent solution for nearly two million people who find themselves in limbo. The Secure and Succeed Act gives us the opportunity to help these individuals and build the trust of the American people by securing our borders and enforcing our immigration laws,” John Cornyn said.
“This is a common-sense compromise that accomplishes a number of goals that both parties have long supported. It offers a fair and compassionate solution for DACA youth to earn naturalization, and it effectively secures our borders to help prevent future illegal immigration and stop drug and human trafficking. It also provides a path forward for modernizing our broken immigration system so it can be more merit-based and reflective of the changing economic and labor needs of our nation. This legislation is the only proposal that the President supports, and the open amendment process will give Senators the opportunity to improve the baseline proposal and get it signed into law,” Tom Tillis said.
“President Trump has been very clear on what he will sign into law, and this is it. This is a great deal and the only solution that fully addresses the four pillars in the President’s framework. Now it is up to Republicans and Democrats in both chambers. If people really want to solve the DACA situation, secure our border, and fix the flaws in our current system that incentivize illegal immigration, they should be eager to support this plan,” David Perdue said.
“We have a unique opportunity to finally get something done on the four immigration areas that leaders in Congress and the President agreed must get done – DACA, border security, the visa lottery, and family sponsorship reform. It’s important to do this in a way that prevents repeating this conversation again ten years from now. I call on my colleagues to put aside partisanship and posturing to have an honest debate about decades-long immigration issues and practical solutions that can pass both Houses of Congress and be signed into law. There are many immigration proposals being floated in the Senate that the House will not pass and the President won’t sign. Too many families are counting on us to do the right thing. Now is the time to get this done,” Jim Lankford said.
“We must ensure a path forward for those who were brought here through no fault of their own as children, while also enforcing our laws, putting an end to illegal immigration, and strengthening our border security. This framework is a step toward addressing the legal, economic, and security concerns that are present in the current debate and the unique challenges that the DACA-eligible population faces, and I urge my colleagues to support this proposal,” Jodi Ernst said.
The Secure and Succeed Act includes the four reform pillars agreed to during a bipartisan meeting with congressional leaders and President Trump in January: legal status for DACA recipients; increased border security; an end chain to migration; and an end to the diversity visa lottery.