Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcConnell: ‘Whoever gets to 60 wins’ on immigration Huckabee Sanders: Dems need to decide if they ‘hate’ Trump ‘more than they love this country’ Trump spokeswoman fires back at Flake: ‘His numbers are in the tank’ MORE (R-Ariz.) will try to force a vote on a plan to extend protections for a group of young immigrants known as “Dreamers” as soon as next week.
Flake’s plan would pair a three-year extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program with $7.6 billion in border security.
“In the days following the introduction of this DACA extension, I’ll be on the floor to offer a unanimous-consent request for an up-or-down vote. I can’t promise that one of my colleagues won’t object … but I promise that I’ll be back on the floor, again and again, motioning for a vote until the Senate passes a bill providing relief to those struggling,” Flake wrote in a Washington Post op-ed on Tuesday
Under the Senate’s rules, he will need every senator to agree to schedule action on the stopgap immigration bill. Any senator could object and block Flake from setting up a vote on his plan.
Flake’s maneuvering comes after the Senate rejected multiple immigration proposals last week, including the White House’s proposed framework and a compromise from a key group of centrists.
The setback has left DACA recipients in limbo with no clear path toward an immigration bill that could pass Congress. DACA, an Obama-era program, allows certain immigrants brought into the country illegally as children to work and go to school.
Flake added that his forthcoming bill is “far from a perfect solution” but would provide a “temporary fix.”
“After what we’ve experienced over these past weeks, I can’t see this Congress agreeing with this president on a package that includes a path to citizenship for DACA participants coupled with significant changes to our legal immigration structure. That comprehensive immigration reform has proved to be beyond our grasp,” he wrote.
Some GOP senators are pointing to an end-of-March government funding bill as a possible vehicle for a DACA compromise, while House Speaker (R-Wis.) says he wants his chamber to address the issue next month.
GOP Sens. (S.D.), (Ohio) and (Kan.) are pitching a separate backup measure that would provide legal protections for current DACA recipients and a $25 billion border security trust fund.
But that measure will likely face an uphill path to winning over Democrats because it doesn’t include a path to citizenship and would only cover roughly 700,000 immigrants compared to the 1.8 million at the center of the Senate’s competing plans.