The fate of the Deferred Action on Childhod Arrivals (DACA) continues to hang in the balance with the year coming to a close and chances of lawmakers reaching an agreement about it remaining slim.
President Donald Trump has categorically said he wanted to end DACA. The House and Senate remain divided on their next step to decide on government funding as it is, with the Friday deadline looming. There are expectations that a possible deal can be reached in the Senate to resolve some issues including DACA, until January. It is not clear yet if the Republicans will have the votes in the House.
Democrats may use DACA as a leverage in negotiations with the budget vote with their Republican counterparts. Advocates of DACA are still pinning their hopes on the Senate that might pave a way for at least a version of the program to be put into law. The DACA basically protects young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.
DACA’s proponent in the Senate, Sen. Dick Durbin, the number 2 Democrat in the Senate, has been leading a bipartisan working group with North Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham. The two hosted multiple meetings last week on the matter, including a gathering on Thursday attended by Republicans James Lankford, Cory Gardner, Jeff Flake and staff from Sen. Thom Tillis and Democrat Michael Bennet.
Durbin said after the meeting with Republicans were concluded that a deal was “starting to take form” but some measure of hard work remained. Tillis for his part estimated that the group was “maybe a third of the way there.” Still unresolved are issues on border security and reform to “chain migration”, or family-based migration. President Trump has repeatedly demanded to include the latter.
Durbin and Tillis agreed that January, instead of December, was a more likely time to reach a resolution.
There are also possible bipartisan options to pair DACA that include border security investments, adjusting the diversity lottery and a version of Kate’s Law, which increases penalties on undocumented immigrants who commit violent crimes.