The Corner


The Latest Senate Immigration ‘Compromise’ Makes Graham-Durbin Look Hawkish

Vox has a useful run-down of the latest so-called compromise in the Senate that deserves to fail. Among the provisions:

  • Tells ICE not to focus on unauthorized immigrants living in the US without criminal records. The bill would codify “enforcement priorities” for the Department of Homeland Security (including Immigration and Customs Enforcement). It would tell agents to focus on immigrants convicted of felonies, and those who enter the US after June 30, 2018. This would be the first time since the establishment of ICE as an independent agency in 2003 that a law would dictate whom agents should focus on, and would put much stricter restrictions on ICE than the ones agents chafed under during the Obama administration (and which Trump famously removed while in office). It wouldn’t prohibit ICE from deporting unauthorized immigrants without criminal records who’ve lived in the US for a while, but it would, at least in theory, push those immigrants way down on the enforcement agenda.

Overall, amazingly enough, it moves the goal-posts to the left of Graham-Durbin:

Of the four proposals Congress is set to vote on Thursday, the Rounds proposal is the middle path. It’s slightly more hawkish than a bill from Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE), which doesn’t put any restrictions on future legal immigration — but substantially more dovish than the bill from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) based on the White House’s immigration framework, which would drastically cut legal immigration and make substantial policy changes in the border and interior of the US.

In the broader context of bills that have been proposed as “DACA fixes,” though, the Rounds bill is surprisingly dovish. It’s to the left of the deal worked out by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in January — the one that President Trump famously rejected because it was too permissive of immigrants from “shithole countries.”


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