DACA on life support as Senate fails 4 times to pass immigration reform

Four different proposals to reform immigration law and give protections to the children of illegal aliens failed to achieve the necessary 60 votes in the Senate, probably killing immigration reform for the foreseeable future.

The measure backed by Donald Trump, which would have given a path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegals and eliminated chain migration and the visa lottery, went down 60-39.  Fourteen Republican senators voted against it.

A bipartisan bill sponsored by moderate Susan Collins, which would have granted DACA recipients protections in exchange for $25 billion in border security, was also decisively rejected.  That bill did not address chain migration or elimination of the visa lottery.

Two other bills were also defeated, mostly along party lines.


The Senate votes were the latest in a series of failures in Congress in recent years to pass a comprehensive immigration plan, and left lawmakers and immigration advocates searching for a way forward for the young Dreamers.

Democrats complained Trump's uncompromising approach was sinking efforts to find a deal in Congress.

"This vote is proof that President Trump's plan will never become law.  If he would stop torpedoing bipartisan efforts, a good bill would pass," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said.

The White House in a statement late on Thursday blamed Democrats for the failure to pass legislation, saying that "they are not serious about immigration reform, and they are not serious about homeland security."

Once again, Democrats tried to leverage the DACA issue by insisting that it be part of a "comprehensive" immigration plan that includes limited border security measures.  But Trump is correct.  The so-called bipartisan plan had little in the way of securing the border, and no reform of chain migration or the visa lottery.  The money allocated to building a wall was symbolic and not a realistic proposal.  Taken together, only a few Republicans voted for the bipartisan bill – something the Democrats had planned on and knew would happen.

Democrats may believe they outmaneuvered Republicans on the issue by calling their bill "bipartisan."  Of course, that's the way the press is reporting it.  But the reality is closer to the White House take: Democrats were never serious about immigration reform and are using the issue as a political weapon. 

Ever since Trump linked DACA legislation to border security – including construction of the wall – Democrats have been trapped.  In order to get legislation to protect DACA recipients, they would have to vote for the hated wall, something they promised they'd never do.  Trump can get his wall funding in other ways besides immigration reform, but if Democrats want DACA amnesty, they will have to accede to Trump's demands on border security.

From a political standpoint, Democrats are far better off if DACA legislation fails and they can blame Republicans.  That's why they refused to treat DACA as a separate issue.  There's no upside for them if DACA is passed, with most GOP senators voting for it.  Better to use DACA as a poison pill to sabotage immigration reform.

Thomas Lifson adds:

I expect that President Trump to call the Democrats out on their refusal to accept his offer.  Once the judicial overreach suspending his executive order – that changed an executive order of his predecessor – is reversed in the Supreme Court, the DACA beneficiaries will lose their protections, and deportations will commence, almost certainly starting with the DACA miscreants, not the valedictorians.  Expect President Trump to note that he is doing this only because Democrats refused to accept his offer because they oppose a border wall that is supported by a large majority of voters.  The DACA beneficiaries are being sold out, he can truthfully claim.

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