Senators Pitch Dreamers-Border Security Combo Deal

December 6, 2022

Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) would offer the roughly 2 million “Dreamers”—those undocumented migrants brought to the U.S. as minors—a path to citizenship in exchange for stronger border security measures.

The loose blueprint is reported to be circulating among Senate offices, and a Senate aide and immigrant advocates tells the Congressional newsletter Roll Call, its language is still very much in flux. 

But it comes during the Congressional lame duck session that advocates and lawmakers say is likely the last opportunity to pass legislation to protect the Dreamers before Republicans take control of the House in January.

The Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, is “on life support,” said Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus last month, calling for action to protect Dreamers in the lame duck. “We need to act with a sense of urgency.”

He is among those who say not acting before Congress changes hands in January could lead to deportation for thousands.

Republican lawmakers have typically hesitated to legalize any immigrants at a time of historically high border encounters, but the December 21 court-ordered expiration of the Title 42 health code policy that allowed for the expulsion of migrants during the pandemic has lawmakers on both sides of the aisle looking for new ways to put controls on the southern border.

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