WASHINGTON- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) expressed optimism that lawmakers are getting closer to reaching consensus on legislation that would protect the more than 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program from deportation.
“This is one of the hardest issues Congress has had to grapple with in recent years. Each side has had to give a great deal, but we are closer than we have ever been to passing something in the Senate to help the Dreamers,” Schumer said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
The program 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.
It is unclear if any of the proposals can garner 60 votes.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced Wednesday that a deal is within reach on bipartisan legislation she introduced along with 21 of her colleagues. The legislation meets the Trump Administration’s immigration reform framework proposal insofar as providing a pathway to citizenship for 1.8 million undocumented immigrants and funding a $25 billion border wall but fails to meet White House demands to end both the diversity lottery and chain migration.
The administration supports a proposal introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.) that meets all four prerequisites.
Democrats oppose Grassley’s bill.
In the mix is a proposal introduced 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.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he favors Grassley’s proposal. McConnell has 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.