Senate moderates have immigration deal on Dreamers, wall

Advocates participate at a march to oppose President Donald Trump's order to end DACA on Sept. 10 2017 in Los Angeles

Word of an agreement came as formal debate on immigration policy has mostly sputtered this week - a stalemate that has underscored the politically fraught nature of the showdown that is further complicated by GOP leaders' insistence that the Senate act by week's end.

It was also unclear how far afield amendments would get, and if senators would be able to offer proposals on any provision of immigration or just the four pillars being proposed by President Donald Trump: border security, broadly defined to included physical security and enforcement powers; ending the diversity visa lottery; curtailing family-based migration; and a permanent solution for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the policy that allowed undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to stay in the country and that Trump has made a decision to end.

The proposal comes from roughly two dozen senators from both sides of the political aisle.

President Donald Trump was on a collision course over immigration Wednesday with U.S. senators, including some within his own party, as they grasped for a solution protecting 1.8 million immigrants from deportation.

The Senate's No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, warned that lawmakers need to address Trump's entire proposal, saying, "We need to take the president seriously".

There were also qualms among Democrats.

Democrats were gauging support for the plan in their caucus late Wednesday, with the realization that Trump may reject it.

In the House, Speaker Paul Ryan is taking fire from some in his rank-and-file who want a broader bill that can better enable a crackdown on border crossings and employers who hire undocumented immigrants.

"I think that's got the best chance of getting 60" votes, he said.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a leader of the bipartisan group, was more hopeful.

Trump has proposed providing a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 million people in exchange for billions for his border wall, and major changes to the legal immigration system. Other than an initial roll call allowing formal debate to begin, there have been no other votes while party leaders talk behind the scenes about scheduling votes on specific proposals.

According to several senators, the centrist proposal would grant a 10- to 12-year route to citizenship for Dreamers, with Sen. Va., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Tim Kaine, D-Va.

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The Trump plan faces an uphill battle in the Senate.

In a tweet Tuesday, Trump asserts that Democrats and Republicans must act now to provide legal protections to young "Dreamer" immigrants in the USA illegally. It would allow for quicker deportations of people caught entering the country, including minors, and people who overstay their visas.

Durbin says Kim's family resembles many other immigrants who don't bring wealth and often don't bring a proficiency in English. Conservatives there see even Trump's proposal as too favorable to undocumented immigrants over others who came to this country legally, he said.

Trump said in his statement that he is "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".

US President Donald Trump gestures during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018.

Few expect it to attract 60 votes, but Sen. Republicans say the ball is in the court of the Democrats, who have twice blocked McConnell from scheduling votes. But the President has thrown his weight behind the Grassley bill. "Rather this is the moment for a narrow bill and every ounce of our energy is going into finding one that can pass", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the floor Monday.

Also in play is a more modest plan by Sens. Chris Coons, D-Del. It would let many Dreamers qualify for permanent residency and direct federal agencies to more effectively control the border by 2020.

Democrats want citizenship for Dreamers but are unwilling to clamp down on legal immigration. It said the proposal would "increase illegal immigration, surge chain migration" - a term critics use to describe family-based immigration - and cause other problems.

Another vote will be taken on a proposal by Sen.

That proposal would cut legal immigration by at least 25% and crack down on "sanctuary cities" that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts.

The amendment is considered sure to lose.

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