WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said President Donald Trump is making it harder for members of the upper chamber to reach a bipartisan consensus on legislation that would protect the more than 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“Democrats are focused like a laser on finding a bipartisan bill that can pass the Senate to protect the Dreamers. Several moderate Republicans are working towards that as well. The one person who seems most intent on NOT getting a deal is President Trump,” Schumer said in a floor speech on Wednesday.
DACA is set to expire on March 5 but a federal injunction likely extends the program beyond that date.
Schumer’s remarks come as the Senate is debating a series of amendments related to DACA, immigration reform and border security. Sixty votes are needed for adoption.
A bipartisan group of 22 senators are hard at work trying to meet that threshold and are reportedly closing in on a deal.
The White House backs a proposal by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that provides a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants, including DACA recipients. The measure provides $25 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. It eliminates the visa lottery system and places extended limits on chain migration.
Democrats are against Grassley’s bill and have spoken favorably of a proposal introduced by last week by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) that provides a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients but does not fund a border wall. Schumer has introduced a proposal similar to the McCain-Coons bill.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he favors Grassley’s proposal. McConnell on Tuesday said he believes the Senate should able to come up with a DACA solution before Congress adjourns for its one-week President’s Day recess, which begins on Friday.
It is unclear when a vote on any of the proposals might occur.