Thursday, February 15, 2018
Trump Backs Grassley Immigration Bill
President calls on Senators to reject any 'Band-Aid' immigration fixes
President Donald Trump on Wednesday officially backed an immigration reform proposal put forward by a number of Senate immigration hawks, including Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), which is designed to mirror the immigration priorities the White House issued last month.
The bill from Grassley and his colleagues, the Secure and Succeed Act of 2018, was announced late Sunday. The bill largely implements the White House's four-pillar immigration proposal: A path to citizenship for 1.8 million illegal immigrants, including the 800,000 beneficiaries of DACA; $25 billion for border security, including a wall; an end to the diversity visa lottery; and a phasing out of extended-family chain migration.
"I am asking all senators, in both parties, to support the Grassley bill and to oppose any legislation that fails to fulfill these four pillars – that includes opposing any short-term ‘Band-Aid' approach," Trump said. "The overwhelming majority of American voters support a plan that fulfills the Framework's four pillars, which move us towards the safe, modern, and lawful immigration system our people deserve."
Trump's claim that a majority of American voters support his plan is supported by a recent Harvard-Harris poll, which found that majorities of voters support its composite four pillars, 65 percent to 35 percent, including 68 percent of Hispanics, 64 percent of Democrats, and 63 percent of liberals.
Trump also cheered legislation introduced by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) and Michael McCaul (R., Texas) in the House that would similarly implement the White House's plan.
"At the same time, I remain encouraged by developments in the House toward advancing legislation from Chairmen Goodlatte and McCaul that also enshrines our four pillars," Trump said.
Trump is not the first high-profile Republican to back the SSA — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.), after remaining mum on which of the several proposals currently floated in the Senate he preferred, publicly backed the proposal on Monday.
"The Secure and Succeed Act is our best chance of producing a solution that can actually resolve the immigration issue. We need a bill that can pass the #Senate and pass the House and earn @POTUS' signature," McConnell tweeted.
The SSA's current sponsors are exclusively Republicans, and bipartisan alternatives have not earned the same support. Trump slammed a proposal from Sens. John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D., Del.) that would exchange amnesty for more illegal immigrants than the SSA's 1.8 million for increased border security, but would not include a wall nor end the diversity visa lottery and chain migration. A press release from the Department of Homeland Security attacked the McCain-Coons bill Wednesday, calling it a "mass legalization" bill and insisting that it fails to secure the border and "surges chain migration."
Still, it remains unclear what, if any, immigration proposal could actually pass the Senate floor, or make it through the House and to the President's desk for signature. A bipartisan working group, led by Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine), claimed Wednesday to have produced a "two-pillar" solution which would, like the McCain-Coons bill, trade amnesty for enhanced border security. But Trump's statement of opposition to any "Band-Aid" approach suggests that, even if that bill can make it through Congress, it may be subject to a presidential veto.