White House to Propose New Framework for Immigration Legislation

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By Laura D. Francis

The White House will release a legislative framework Jan. 29 that could form the basis for a package that provides legal status to dreamers.

The new framework is based on a series of talks between President Donald Trump and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both houses, according to a Jan. 24 statement from White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.

The pending framework “represents a compromise that members of both parties can support,” she said.

That framework will include “four agreed-upon pillars": border security, ending extended-family visa categories, ending the diversity visa lottery, and providing permanent legal status for young, undocumented immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Notably, the president’s promised border wall is not mentioned. Instead, the focus is on “securing the border and closing legal loopholes.”

It remains to be seen whether Democrats will get on board with the White House’s proposed cuts to legal immigration. Thus far they have been willing to give some ground on funding for border security in exchange for a legislative fix for DACA, but haven’t budged elsewhere. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also has taken heat from immigrant advocates for agreeing to end the government shutdown Jan. 22 without any immigration provisions in the stopgap funding measure.

In 2013, a comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate with bipartisan support eliminated the diversity visa and replaced it with a merit-based points system akin to that supported by Trump. The bill never came up for a vote in the House.

A spokesman for Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), one of the senators who proposed an immigration deal that was rejected by the president ahead of the government shutdown, declined to comment on the framework Jan. 24. “They haven’t sent us anything,” he told Bloomberg Law.

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