At long last, Senate debates 'Dreamer' immigrants' future

From Reuters - February 12, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate began a major, free-for-all immigration debate, its first in nearly five years, on Monday evening that could decide the fate of at least 700,000 Dreamer immigrants, young people brought into the country illegally years ago as children.

Late on Monday, Senator John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican, put tight time constraints on the normally slow-moving Senate.

Its this week or not at all, Cornyn said of the need for quick Senate action. Speaking to reporters, he warned that the debate had to be wrapped up by Thursday, before next weeks congressional recess.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, Cornyns counterpart, told reporters he hoped a combination of the Senates 49 Democrats and independents, coupled with 11 Republicans, could get behind a bill, propelling it to passage.

But Cornyn said tepid support among Republicans was a recipe for failure: If they think ... they can cobble together a handful of Republicans to go along with a majority of Democrats and somehow get it past the House and get the president to sign it, I think thats a pipedream.

Under an order issued last year by Republican President Donald Trump, the Dreamers could be deported after March 5. That deadline looms behind the rare Senate debate, in which no single bill was to be the centerpiece and a range of ideas was in play.

By forcing the deadline on Congress with his September order, Trump drove a sharp wedge between Democrats and Republicans on an emotionally charged issue. The rhetoric around the debate was running red-hot even before it got started.

This week we will see the horrific vision of the White House and extremist Republicans on full display ... their vision is nothing short of white supremacy, Greisa Martinez Rosas, a Dreamer and activist told reporters on a teleconference.

On the other side, the group Advocates for Victims of Illegal Alien Crime said in a press release: The reality is that American families are the ones suffering the mosttheir children killedby illegal alien crime.

Bridging the sometimes ugly divide between factions in the immigration debate, one that Trump himself has widened with his inflammatory statements, will be a challenge for Congress.

Despite last weeks enactment of a bipartisan budget deal, partisanship still rules in Washington. It was unclear if any immigration bill could cross the Senates 60-vote hurdle, let alone pass the more conservative House of Representatives.


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