Tuesday 22 January 2019

US Senate rejects immigration bills

Facing a White House veto threat, the chamber derailed a plan that would have helped 1.8 million young immigrant ‘Dreamers’ achieve citizenship.

US Senate rejects immigration bills (J.Scott Applewhite/AP)
US Senate rejects immigration bills (J.Scott Applewhite/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

The US Senate has rejected both a bipartisan immigration plan and a more restrictive proposal by President Donald Trump.

Facing a veto threat from the White House and opposition from the Senate’s Republican leaders, the chamber derailed a plan by senators that would have helped 1.8 million young immigrant ‘Dreamers’ achieve citizenship.

It also would have doled out $25 billion for Mr Trump’s proposed wall with Mexico and other border security measures.

The proposals were six short of the 60 votes needed for passage, while Mr Trump’s own plan was 21 votes shy.

The president had proposed creating a 10 to 12-year path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers in a concession to Democrats.

In exchange, he sought a quick infusion of $25 billion to build the wall and other border security steps.

Mr Trump’s bill would have prevented legal immigrants from sponsoring parents and siblings for citizenship and would have ended a visa lottery aimed at allowing more diverse immigrants into the US.

Democrats and many Republicans opposed Mr Trump’s wall spending and curbs on immigrants’ relatives.

Senior Democrats had hoped the bipartisan package would prevail or at least force the president to negotiate further.

But he proved unwilling to fold on his demands for a tougher bill.

In a written statement earlier on Thursday, the White House labelled the proposal “dangerous policy that will harm the nation.”

Dreamers are immigrants brought to the US illegally as children who risk deportation because they lack permanent authorisation to stay.

Mr Trump annulled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) created by his predecessor Barack Obama to protected them.

He has given Congress until March 5 to restore the programme, though federal courts have blocked him temporarily from dismantling it.

At the start of the debate Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats had failed to offer “a single proposal that gives us a realistic chance to make law.”

Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said Mr Trump has “stood in the way of every single proposal that has had a chance of becoming law.”

He added: “The American people will blame President Trump and no one else for the failure to protect Dreamers.”

Press Association

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