Senate Immigration Plan Ignores Wall Funding

WASHINGTON (CN) — Immigration reform set to be introduced Monday by Senators John McCain and Chris Coons drew swift rebuke from the president Monday for its omission of funding for a wall on the southern border.

“Any deal on DACA that does not include STRONG border security and the desperately needed WALL is a total waste of time,” Trump tweeted Monday. “March 5th is rapidly approaching and the Dems seem not to care about DACA. Make a deal!”

The Trump administration had tasked Congress to broker new immigration legislation as it eyes the March 5 sunset date for DACA, an Obama-era program whose full name is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

While the bipartisan Senate plan includes no funding for Trump’s border wall, it does contain border-security measures and some deportation protections for former DACA beneficiaries.

“The bill I’m introducing with Sen. McCain today doesn’t solve every immigration issue, but it does address the two most pressing problems we face: protecting DACA recipients and securing the border,” Coons, a Delaware Democrat, said in a statement. “I believe there is bipartisan support for both of those things and I believe that we can reach a budget deal that increases funding for our military and important domestic programs.”

Coons and McCain’s bill would grant permanent legal status to former DACA recipients who entered the United States before 2013 and meet other requirements, including no convictions for serious crimes.

Though Trump has said he would endorse a plan that offered U.S. citizenship to as many as 1.8 million immigrants who qualified for DACA protections, he has demanded $25 billion of border-wall funding in return.

Coons and McCain’s bill also ignores two other Trump demands by leaving the visa lottery intact and putting no limit on the number of relatives that DACA beneficiaries may sponsor for citizenship.

As for the U.S.-Mexico border, the bill calls for a study to determine what security measures are needed.

“While reaching a deal cannot come soon enough for America’s service members, the current political reality demands bipartisan cooperation to address the impending expiration of the DACA program and secure the southern border,” McCain, an Arizona Republican, said in a statement.

The plan is a companion to a House bill introduced last month by Reps. Will Hurd, R-Texas, and Pete Aguilar, D-California, with 27 Republican co-sponsors and 27 Democrats, which drew heavily from a “smart wall” bill previously introduced by Hurd.

McCain and Coons aim to garner enough bipartisan support for the bill to avoid a repeat of last month’s three-day government shutdown.

The government is on its fourth short-term funding package, 128 days into the fiscal year. Congress has until 12:01 a.m. Friday to pass another short-term spending bill that will fund the government in absence of a full budget.

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