President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program has served as a catalyst to reform the country’s broken immigration system quickly. Over the past five months since the announcement that DACA would be terminated on March 5, popular and political support for DACA gained momentum. The President also expressed a desire for fair treatment of DACA recipients. However, and despite the headlines, talking points, and rhetoric, DACA is still set to expire on March 5, and Congress appears to be even further from consensus than when they started. (But see story, below, on the DACA injunction.)
There have been at least 20 immigration reform bills introduced in Congress, and none of them is perfect. And, the White House issued its framework for immigration reform, which includes commitment of funds for border security, status for 1.8 million DREAMers, reduction of family-based immigration to the nuclear family, and elimination of the Diversity Visa lottery.
In the wake of this activity, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell allowed four immigration bills to come up for a vote in the Senate last week. The McCain/Coons attempt at a clean Dream Act fell eight votes short of passing. A bipartisan proposal from Senators Collins, Durbin, Graham, and Flake to create a path to citizenship for DACA recipients with some border funding and changes to family-based immigration missed passage by six votes. Senator Grassley introduced the White House framework as its own bill but it went nowhere. A fourth bill dealing only with sanctuary cities made it to the floor, but also failed.
If these votes are an indicator of things to come, it is unlikely that Congress will reach a DACA solution before March 5.