Speed Reads

immigration debate

The Senate's 'Common Sense Caucus' releases bipartisan immigration bill before big vote showdown

On Wednesday night, Sen. Susan Collins' (R-Maine) bipartisan "Common Sense Caucus" released its immigration proposal, which offers some of what President Trump has demanded but not everything, adding another option to a looming floor fight in the Senate on Thursday. The Immigration Security and Opportunity Act, with lead sponsors Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Angus King (I-Maine), would offer a 10-year path to citizenship for DREAMers — young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children — plus $25 billion over a decade for border security, and curb family-based immigration. It does not end the visa lottery program, as Trump wants, or deliver the $25 billion immediately.

Trump favors a bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and he has informally threatened to veto a bipartisan bill that would just tackle border security and DREAMers. Senators will likely vote on all three proposals, plus a "sanctuary cities" crackdown measure from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), on Thursday. The Grassley bill, vehemently opposed by Democrats, is not expected to get 60 votes, and Trump's opposition has dangerously imperiled the narrow DREAMer-focused bill sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.).

A senior White House official told The Washington Post on Wednesday night that the administration is "doing everything in our power" to block the Rounds-Angus bill, which the official called a "giant amnesty." Sen. Linsdey Graham (R-S.C.), a sponsor of that bill, shrugged off the veto threat. "Everything's a negotiation. We're a separate branch," Flake said, and Trump "can veto it, or he can sign it, but we've got to pass it."