On Monday night, Senate Republicans released a 1,300-page version of the plan President Trump outlined Saturday to reopen the federal government. It includes $5.7 billion for Trump's border wall, a three-year extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers, and bills to fund the parts of the government closed for 31 days and counting, plus $12.7 billion in assorted disaster and agricultural relief. Immigration experts also found several big, unheralded changes to the U.S. immigration system.
Democrats have already rejected the bill, and the details probably won't help win any over when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) brings it up for a vote this week.
The first big change deals with asylum. Notably, "it makes it so Central American minors are ineligible for asylum if they don't apply at a processing center (to be established) in Central America," says The Federalist's Gabriel Malor. "Asylum is a form of relief for people who are being persecuted in their home countries and the authorities there are unable or unwilling to protect them (or are the source of the persecution). You can't condition asylum on people remaining in the place where they are persecuted."
The ban on Central American minors "is pretty bad and reason alone to oppose this bill," Malor argues. "But the changes to whether an application can be found to be frivolous applies to ALL applicants, and it's completely unreasonable." The bill "will (and should) get zero votes from Democrats," he adds, "and to be honest, Republicans should be shooting question marks at McConnell, too." Peter Weber
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) signed a budget bill Thursday morning to approve more than $300 million in teacher pay raises, AZCentral reports.
Lawmakers in the state worked through the night to pass the bill, bringing the week-long teacher walkout to an end. Thousands of teachers went on strike last week, and the vast majority of public schools across Arizona were closed for six straight days. Leaders of the strike said Wednesday that they would end the walkouts if the budget passed, even though it fell short of the group's demands.
Ducey approved a $10.4 billion spending plan that will give teachers an average 9 percent pay raise this year, and 5 percent more in each of the next two years, reports The Associated Press. It will additionally restore some of the state's previously cut funding for public school infrastructure and resources. Teachers were demanding a 20 percent raise and an additional $1 billion in school funding. Summer Meza