Posted: 7:18 am Wednesday, February 14th, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
Pressing Democrats to accept an immigration plan along the lines of one endorsed by President Donald Trump, GOP Senators unveiled the details of their plan to address the future of illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” a 592 page, nearly $100 billion measure that focuses mainly on new efforts at border security, limits on family migration, and an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery program.
The new GOP plan includes $25 billion for a “Border Security Enforcement Fund,” $18 billion for ‘tactical infrastructure’ improvements by the Border Patrol, and $50 billion in foreign aid described as “financial assistance for foreign country operations to address migration flows that may affect the United States.”
The nearly $100 billion in spending authorized under this GOP immigration plan could grow even larger, as the Republican DACA bill includes four different sections where “such sums as may be necessary” would be approved for various immigration changes.
The DACA amendment was sponsored by a half dozen GOP Senators who want a plan that runs along the stated goals of President Trump.
“Everybody in the room wants DACA,” Mr. Trump told a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House on Tuesday. “It would be a great achievement.”
Republican leaders have said they want action this week on their DACA plan.
“I said we would have an open and fair process,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday. “And the sooner we do that the better.”
In one area, this new GOP DACA bill runs directly against Mr. Trump’s 2019 budget issued on Monday, which sought to eliminate the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program – that popular program funnels money to states to deal with the cost of holding illegal immigrants in prison.
The Trump budget predicted a savings of $210 million per year from that elimination – but this new GOP immigration plan would increase spending on the SCAAP program to $950 million – seemingly a $3.5 billion increase over a five year period.
With a table of contents that runs six pages, the provisions dealing with DACA and illegal immigrant Dreamers are just one small part of a much broader immigration bill, which has already run into united opposition from Democrats.
Democrats have said they could go along with Mr. Trump’s call for a $25 billion border security fund, in exchange for a path to citizenship for illegal immigrant Dreamers – but have resisted extra provisions, arguing those are better dealt with in a broader immigration reform measure.
Congress has tried repeatedly over the last 15 years to deal with immigration reform, but each effort has run into major controversy.
The new GOP plan also includes a number of restrictions on federal judges, to keep them from overturning decisions made by immigration officials on visa revocations, naturalization applications, as well as other specific immigration decisions by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
The GOP bill also has some provisions that are not related to immigration, like a section dealing with opioids, the “Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act.”
There is also a section which would prohibit “flight training and nuclear studies for nationals of high risk countries.”
The bill is chock full of other GOP immigration measures introduced in Congress, like these:
+ the “Putting the Brakes on Human Smuggling Act”
+ “Strong Visa Integrity Secures America Act”
+ “Secure Visa Act”
+ “Visa Fraud and Security Improvements Act of 2018”
+ “Keep Our Communities Safe Act”